The idea of boosting your immune system is enticing, but the ability to do so has proven elusive for several reasons. The immune system is just that: a system, not a single entity. To function well, it needs balance and harmony. There is still a lot that researchers don’t know about the complexity and interconnectedness of the immune response. At the moment, there is no scientifically proven direct link between lifestyle and improved immune function.
But that’s not to say the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied. Researchers study the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response in both animals and humans.
General Strategies For A Healthy Living
In the meantime, general strategies for a healthy living make sense as they are likely to support immune function and come with other proven health benefits.
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
- Get adequate sleep
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly
- Try to minimize stress
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines. Vaccines prime your immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in your body
Healthy Ways To Boost Your Immune System
But the concept of boosting immunity makes little scientific sense. Increasing the number of cells in your body (immune cells or otherwise) is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who deal with “blood doping”. Pump blood into your systems to increase blood cell counts and improve your performance. Put you at risk of stroke. Trying to stimulate the cells in your immune system is particularly difficult because there are so many different types of cells in the immune system. responding to so many different microbes in so many ways.
Which Cells Should I Reinforce And How Many?
So far, scientists don’t know the answer. It is known that the body continuously forms immune cells. It certainly produces far more lymphocytes than it can use. The excess cells are removed through a natural process of cell death, called apoptosis, some before they see action, others after they’ve won the fight.
No one knows how many cells or what is the best combination of cells that the immune system needs to function optimally.
Nutrition And Your Immune System
Like any military force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system fighters need good nutrition regularly. Scientists have long recognized that people living in the poor and malnourished are more susceptible to infections. For example, researchers don’t know whether certain dietary factors, such as processed foods or high intakes of simple sugars, negatively impact immune function.
There are still relatively few studies on the effects of diet on the human immune system. There is evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies – for example, zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamin A, B6, C, and E deficiencies – alter the immune response of animals, measured in the test tube. However, the impact of these immune system changes on animal health is less clear. And the impact of similar deficiencies on human immune responses has yet to be evaluated.
Boosting Immunity With Herbs And Supplements?
If you walk into any store, you will find bottles of pills and herbal supplements that claim to support immunity” or improve the health of your immune system. Although some supplements have been found to alter some components of immune function, there is no evidence to date that they boost immunity in a way that makes you better protected against infection and disease. Proving whether an herb or any other substance can enhance immunity has been a very complicated matter. For example, I don’t know if an herb that appears to increase antibody levels in the blood is doing any good for general immunity.
Stress And Immune Function
Modern medicine has come to appreciate the close relationship between mind and body. A variety of illnesses, including an upset stomach, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function. For one thing, stress is difficult to define.
What might seem like a stressful situation for one person may not be for another. When people are exposed to situations that they find stressful. It is difficult for them to measure how much stress they are feeling. It is difficult for scientists to know whether a person’s subjective impression of the extent of the stress is correct. Scientists can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of heartbeats per minute, but such measurements can also reflect other factors.
Relationship Between Stress And Immune Function
However, most of the scientists studying the relationship between stress and immune function do not study a sudden and short-lived stressor. Rather, they attempt to study constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as stress caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or ongoing challenges to performing well at work.
Scientists are studying whether prolonged stress affects the immune system.
Immune System Boosters
Nourishing your body with certain foods can help keep your immune system strong. If you’re looking for ways to prevent colds, flu, and other infections, your first step should be to visit your local grocery store for meals that contain these 15 powerful immune system boosters.
An Important Note
No dietary supplement can cure or prevent disease. In light of the 2019 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it is especially important to understand that no dietary supplements, diet, or other lifestyle changes other than physical distancing. It is also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19. No research currently supports the use of dietary supplements for specific protection against COVID-19.
A healthy immune system is the only way to keep infection and disease out of reach.