How to boost your immune system
The role of the immune system:
The immune system is a complex intricate powerhouse of a system that is constantly working to fight harmful substances and germs that enter the body through the skin, ears, nose, and the digestive system. The adaptive or specific immune system makes antibodies and uses them to fight certain pathogens that the body has previously been exposed to. Without our immune systems we would be powerless to these invaders and would become very ill and indeed die.
Signs of a weak immune system:
Sometimes the immune system becomes compromised and this can happen for many reasons one of the biggest factors is stress. When this happens and our immunity is diminished, we become more susceptible to illness. Some of the tell-tale signs of a compromised immune system include;
Increased susceptibility to colds and virus
Generalised aches and pains
Problems with certain organs
Things that can weaken the immune system:
The immune system can become weakened for many reasons, sometimes this can start to happen gradually and then escalate into something more serious. Some of the things that cause this include;
Nervous system issues
Underlying viral, fungal or bacterial issues
Poor lifestyle choices
The nerve that governs the immune response:
The immune response is governed by the vagus nerve, by activating this nerve we can reduce inflammation, stimulate the correct immune response, control immune cells and prevent disease. Ways to activate the vagal function include; deep breathing, gentle stretching, doing the things we enjoy, meditation, and cold immersion to name a few! For more information please see my article on the vagus nerve on my website.
Top tips to help the immune system:
Stress reduction is so important to our general health and wellness. When we are in a stressed state the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced, this is when we often become ill. Cortisol is secreted when we are in a stressed state and this hormone suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system. So, finding ways to lower your stress is vital for the heathy functioning of your immune system.
Laughter is one of the best medicines, it reduces the body’s production of several stress hormones and increases the body’s production of the feel-good hormones and endorphins. A good laugh can relieve physical tension and can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes! Laughter has been proven to increase immune cells and infection fighting antibodies.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep improves health in many ways, and it is vitally important that you are getting enough for your unique needs. People differ with their need for sleep however science has concluded that less than 6 hours can have detrimental effects on our health including our immune systems. Please also see my article on sleep and its importance to our health
Look at your diet
Look at including more fresh fruit and vegetables and if you eat meat and fish increase your lean meats and fish and reduce your red and fatty meat intake. Also consider eating more good fats such as olive oil and avocados and avocado oil. Consider reducing dairy intake and definitely switch to organic dairy. Avoid low fat options as they are generally full of additional nasty ingredients. Consider also eating less wheat products and processed foods, reduce your intake of sugar and cut out anything with artificial sweeteners as they act like poison in the body. The Mediterranean diet which emphasises lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, good heathy fats and oily fish is probably one of the best for our general health.
Consider allergies, intolerance and food sensitivities
Allergies, intolerance and food sensitivities can all weaken the immune system. These sensitivities are incredibly complex and are triggered in the immune system as it interprets the offending substance as an enemy. Most often the immune response is misinterpreting the substance and a cascade of unpleasant symptoms ensue. You could consider visiting a kinesiologist for help with identifying and where possible resolving such issues. I offer this service in my clinic and have variety of tools that I can use to help desensitise an individual where possible.
I also advise everyone to get into the good habit of reading the labels on foods to check for any nasty unwanted ingredients such as flavour enhancers, sweeteners and unnecessary sugars.
Supplements that help the immune system
Some of the more generic vitamins and minerals that can help immune function include;
There are several other vitamins, minerals and remedies that can be used for immune function depending on individual needs. In practice I take a detailed consultation from my clients asking them lots of questions. This then helps me tailor a treatment regime that is specific to their needs. I also test a for specific supplements and remedies that will help with their individual biochemistry.
Feed your good gut bacteria
Your gut is your powerhouse for your health in many ways, but it is directly interrelated with immune response. I will talk about this in more detail in another article but at the very least feeding your gut with a wide variety fruits and vegetables gives it the fibre it needs to populate with good bacteria. Another useful tactic is to take a good broad-spectrum probiotic supplement. Please note though probiotics are not all created equal you need to get a good supplement that does not contain any fillers and please avoid the probiotic drinks as they are full of sugar.
Resolve any underlying fungal, bacterial or parasite issues
Underlying issues with fungal, bacterial or parasite infections can often be the cause of lowered immune function. These can often go undiscovered for years and then surface when we are particularly stressed for example. I will test clients for these things to make sure they are not causing problems.
Resolve any troublesome issues in your life
Anything that is causing stress in your life is potentially affecting your immune system, so look at ways in which you can resolve troublesome issues. Sometimes we can’t resolve things literally, but we can find a way to resolve our responses to these things. In practice I often use Health Kinesiology to help people to do this.