Our immune system plays a vital role in our overall well-being. While many community organizations have taken drastic measures to battle immune diseases, like the Immune Deficiency Foundation, a mind-boggling 50 million Americans suffer from one or more immune disorders.
Our immune systems are incredibly complex. When in good health, the immune system keeps us from getting sick and has the amazing ability to protect the body from foreign substances. When in poor health, however, the system can "turn" on itself, producing a vast array of unwanted conditions, particularly autoimmune disease.
Protecting your immune health starts with educating yourself about the various diet and lifestyle changes needed to counteract the possibility of damaging your immune health. Certain foods, vitamin supplements, and probiotics are well known for boosting immune health quickly. Taking part in physical exercise is crucial for complementing a non-GMO diet, both of which improve immune health and leave you feeling energized and healthy.
Below, we’ve put together the ultimate go-to guide to help you optimize, support, and achieve good immune health. You'll learn about common immune system diseases, tips for strengthening your immune system, and specific vitamins and immune boosting probiotics you can use to boost immune health. As you’re reading, you’ll notice helpful hyperlinks that you can click on that provide you with valuable in-depth information on the topics being discussed.
Understanding Immune System Diseases
When a person suffers from an autoimmune disease, it means the immune system has turned on itself and is now attacking the body. Instead of keeping foreign invaders at bay and from entering the bloodstream, it's letting them through. As these foreign invaders infiltrate the body, they weaken the immune system. Systemic inflammation is the cause of autoimmune disease.
Having a poor immune system is going to lead numerous health complications, including fatigue, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and more. As you begin to learn more about autoimmune diseases, you will become more familiar with the ways vitamins and immune-boosting probiotics can strengthen the immune system.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a common disease that impacts approximately 1.6 million Americans. Weight loss and severe abdominal pain, combined with urgent bowel movements, are three of the most common symptoms endured by those with IBD. Immune-suppressing medications are often prescribed by physicians to alleviate these symptoms.
Type 1 diabetes is another common disease that results from having a poor immune system. Antibodies produced by the immune system fail to appropriately do their job and instead attack cells in the body that are meant to release insulin. As a result, a person will suffer from extremely low levels of insulin. When left untreated, a person will usually die from Type 1 diabetes. Insulin injections are the most common form of treatment for this disease.
Another type of autoimmune disease that is commonly experienced by Americans is leaky gut syndrome. Although this disease has yet to be recognized by a large number of medical professionals, this doesn't take away from the fact that it is very real. The immune system lives primarily in your gut, so when it's not healthy, your gut is not able to perform its primary responsibility, which is to determine which particles from the foods you eat and the beverages you drink make their way throughout your body.
When a person has leaky gut, his or her intestinal permeability will be greatly impacted in a negative manner. Tight junctions in the gut are just as the name implies -- tight holes that allow nutrients to pass through. With leaky gut, these tight junctions become loose, meaning foreign substances that aren't supposed to pass through make their way into the bloodstream and to your organs.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can heal leaky gut. It starts with altering your diet. Intestinal permeability is negatively impacted by gluten and many GMO foods, meaning they have been genetically modified. Cutting out food containing gluten and GMOs is an excellent way to ensure your tight junctions are tight and able to serve their purpose. Ideally, you will want to switch to a diet that consists of organic foods and beverages.
It's also important to avoid foods with GMOs or those harvested with glyphosate, a herbicide typically used in roundup weedkiller to make harvesting practices more efficient. This herbicide may lead to more money in the pockets of farmers, but it leaves you with huge holes in your gut. It loosens tight junctions and augments negative intestinal permeability.
Altering your diet with probiotics and certain vitamin supplements can further improve leaky gut symptoms. Probiotics, particularly ones containing the patented strain called Bacillus Indicus HU36, are specifically designed to heal and improve tight junction performance and to decrease poor intestinal permeability.
Tips for Strengthening Your Immune System
From the air you breathe to the food you eat,n your immune system can be compromised. Strengthening your immune health starts with understanding how your immune system works.
You are born with two types of immune systems. Both work in tandem with one another but go by different names. The one you are born with from the get-go is called innate immunity. The one that you build up over time as you are exposed to bacteria, viruses, immunizations, etc. is called your adaptive immune system. As to be expected, the stronger each part of the immune system is, the stronger the other one can be. Ultimately, you want both parts to be as strong as possible.
When a foreign invader infiltrates the body, it takes your adaptive system about five to 10 days to pinpoint, produce, and release the antibodies it thinks is best suited to fight off the intruder. This applies to viruses, fungi, bacteria, parasites, and more. During this five to 10 days, your innate immunity will battle pathogens and do its best to keep them from multiplying. Sometimes, when you have a strong innate immune system, your adaptive immunity never even has to kick in. The innate part will do such a good job at fighting off the intruders that by the time the adaptive part has produced antibodies, the intruders are gone and there's no need to release them.
Following a non-GMO diet, eating organic, and eliminating foods that have been harvested with glyphosate is a great way to start to strengthen the immune system, but there are other ways to improve immune health quickly. For starters, you can fast. A 24- to 48-hour fast gives your gut time off from digesting in order to take time to heal. Instead of having to concern itself with blocking food and subsequent toxins from entering your bloodstream, your gut can take a break, allowing any loose tight junctions can heal themselves and do what they need to do: Keep digestion in the digestive system, and not leaking out towards organs. Taking a probiotic while fasting will continue to support healthy gut health.
One fasting option is a bone broth fast, which promotes healthy bones and helps minimize joint pain. It also promotes the production of collagen in your joints by pulling gelatin out of the bones. As you drink the broth, this gelatin is absorbed by your body.
A bone broth fast is especially effective at healing leaky gut syndrome because it fuels your body with amino acids. These acids protect your body from inflammation, and as we stated before, all immune system diseases stem from systemic inflammation. The lower the levels of inflammation in your body, the better.
Bone broth does much more than heal leaky gut syndrome. Many people who follow this type of diet attest to having lower incidences of the cold and flu. They also state that drinking bone broth - in addition to taking a quality probiotic with HU36, and eating an organic, non-GMO diet - improves their overall mood, energy levels, and even contributes to enhanced sleeping patterns.
Getting outside and enjoying all that Mother Nature has to offer can increase immune health too. Spending time in nature has long been known to help fight off bouts of depression. Certain studies also support the theory of how coming into contact with natural bacteria found in soil and dirt can improve your immune system functions. Just the same as vaccinations infect your body with the very disease they are making you immune from, playing in the dirt and exposing yourself to bacteria can be incredibly beneficial for making your immune system stronger. The more you are exposed to the bacteria, the more immune your body becomes to viruses and infections that stem from those forms of bacteria.
Vitamin Supplements to Boost Immune System
You don’t have to follow a strict, food-eliminating diet to boost immune system health. The key is avoiding GMOs and opting for organic versions instead. That said, in addition to following a healthy diet, there are certain vitamins that you should take to strengthen your immune system.
In addition to altering your diet to improve immune health, there are specific vitamin and probiotic supplements you can take daily to provide you with adequate supplies of essential vitamins and nutrients.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, your nutrition habits are the most important component of your lifestyle that impacts how healthy your immune system will be. This association also reveals probiotics are an essential component of good immune health too.
Vitamin supplements are a go-to source for counteracting any type of lack in nutrients that you may face. Try searching for vitamins that help boost your immune system and you will find countless sources listing these vitamins as most important:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
Thorough research is critical before starting any new vitamin supplements. For example, did you know consuming too much vitamin D can have detrimental effects on the immune system, especially when you don’t have sufficient levels of K2 in your body? Taking a K2 supplement any time you are taking a vitamin D supplement is highly recommended.
Foods You Need to Eat to Boost Immune Health
There are three basic categories of food you need to be concerned with when it comes to strengthening your immune system quickly:
Just because a food is non-GMO doesn't mean it's organic. To be organic, it must go through a certain growing and farming process in which no pesticides or herbicides are used; these are the foods you should consume to boost your immune health.
It cannot be expressed enough how important an organic, non-GMO diet is. Whether you're a professional athlete or a stay-at-home mom, having the energy to get through each day is vital to enjoying life to its fullest. An organic, non-GMO diet ensures you're not putting toxins in your body.
Here's a list of healthy foods that will help boost your immune system:
- Beta-carotene: turnips, carrots, peaches, apricots, broccoli, tangerines, cantaloupe, watermelon, kale, pink grapefruit, squash, and collard greens.
- Vitamin C: strawberries, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, peppers, grapefruit, berries, kiwi, tomatoes, nectarine, and papaya.
- Vitamin E: avocado, red peppers, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, boiled spinach, mangoes, and broccoli.
- Antioxidants: Onions, prunes, raisins, beans, apples, red grapes, eggplant, and plums.
- Vitamin A: winter squash, carrots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, collard greens, apricots, and spinach.
- Vitamin D: Cheese, some dairy products, cheese, fatty fish like salmon, egg yolks, and beef liver.
Remember: When grocery shopping, be sure to look at the labels. Make sure to look for non-GMO labeled versions of your favorite food.
Keeping your immune system healthy is up to you. Most everyone lives a busy life and it can be difficult to squeeze in time to look after your health, but a quick visit to your primary care physician or holistic nutritionist is one of the best ways to stay educated and continue learning about new and better ways to care for your body and your health. They can test you for nutritional deficiencies to determine which supplements you need to be taking.
Taking the right mixture of vitamins and immune boosting probiotics and combining them with regular exercise and an organic, non-GMO diet is a strategic approach to boosting immune health for the long term. Exercising doesn't mean you have to go to the gym five times a week either. Taking a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood three times a week is enough to strengthen your immune system and lower your risk of developing heart disease.
On the days you don’t feel like exercising, consider meditating. According to Forbes, a study published in the Translational Psychiatry journal states regular meditation not only lowers stress, but it improves your mood and decreases inflammation in the body, all of which are paramount to good immune health.
There’s never been a better time to improve your immune system health, and it starts today. To learn more about probiotics that support immune health, vitamins, and how to strengthen your immune system, check out this in-depth PDF that’s jam-packed with information about improving your immune system health.