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Tips for Strengthening Your Immune System
Every single decision you make and action you take impacts your health.
From your diet to your emotions to any medications you may take, your immune health is influenced in either a positive or negative manner. Even your hormones and neuroendocrine system play a role in your immune health.
You may think you don't have much control over your immune system, but the truth is, you do.
Innate and Adaptive Immune System
You are born with innate immunity: your first line of defense against infections. Once activated, the innate part of the immune system quickly attempts to flush out as many bad bacteria as possible. This is why you get a fever when you're sick. A fever is actually good because it’s a sign that your immune system is fighting off bacteria and toxins.
Adaptive immunity is built up over time as you are exposed to diseases. It's also boosted by vaccinations. Once an enemy is spotted, like bad bacteria, the adaptive immunity in your body will create antibodies to ward them off. The innate system works in overtime mode to battle pathogens and stops them from multiplying during the 5-10 days it takes the adaptive immunity to pinpoint, produce, and release the appropriate antibodies to fight the invader.
How to Fight Bacteria & Strengthen Your Immune System
Improving your immune health starts with understanding how the immune system works. Did you know your bone marrow impacts your immune health? Your tonsils, the thymus, and even your spleen influence the immune system’s functions as well.
A strong immune system translates into a healthier person. Your cells and tissues can band together with your body's organs to fight off bad bacteria and viruses. A weak immune system, on the other hand, can result in poor wound-healing, persistent colds, aggravated allergy symptoms, constant fatigue, and repeated infections.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from one or more autoimmune disorders. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent $591 million on autoimmune disorder research.
- When a person is born with a weak immune system, the diagnosis of a primary immune deficiency is typically given.
- If you develop a disease that results in a weakened immune system, you'll be diagnosed with an acquired immune deficiency.
- For those who have an immune system that is overactive, this is commonly the result of an allergic reaction.
- When a person's immune system turns against them, this is known as autoimmune disease.
Steer Clear of Glyphosate By Following an Organic, Non-GMO Diet
Citrus fruits and vegetables are well-known for boosting immune health, but it's imperative to be careful when choosing which ones you want to take.
According to The Cornucopia Institute, "glyphosate is used not just with row crops like corn, soybeans, and wheat but also a range of fruits, nuts, and veggies. Even [non-organic] spinach growers use glyphosate.”
“Farmers apply the herbicide to a variety of crops, generally right before harvest time, to maximize harvesting efficiency. It also allows them to harvest at a lower cost.”
Studies show glyphosate has carcinogenic effects and can be detrimental to a person's gut, which translates into poor immune health. Your gut is essential to your immune system because it controls the nutrients and bacteria that can enter the bloodstream.
To boost immune health while also steering clear of glyphosate, you’ll want to follow a diet that consists of organic, non-GMO foods, such as:
- Meats and eggs from cage-free, grass-fed animals
- Herbs and spices
- Organic vegetables and fruits
- Organic coconut oil
- Sprouted seeds
- Gluten-free grains
Exercise Regularly to Increase Immune System Cells
What makes regular exercise so good for you? Where do we begin?! First off, when exercising, the body’s systems - from airways to blood flow - are "flushed" out, riding the body of bad bacteria and toxins while decreasing your chances of catching colds or the flu.
Studies also show that exercise positively alters antibodies and white blood cells, which are the body's primary warriors against disease. During physical activity, a combination of antibodies and white blood cells rapidly circulate through the body quicker than they normally do. Some medical professionals believe due to their rapid circulation, they can spot and fight infections and illnesses faster than normal.
But you don’t have to hit the gym 10+ plus hours per week to reap the immune-boosting benefits of exercising. A simple 30-minute brisk walk around your neighborhood or on a treadmill is plenty to increase immune system cells in your body. A study performed at the Appalachian State University confirms a 30 to 45-minute brisk walk will elevate immunity not only during your exercise routine, but for several hours afterward. Exercise also has a cumulative effect, enhancing your ability to fight off illnesses for an extended period of time.
Supplement with Vitamin D and Vitamin K2-7
Vitamin D deficiency negatively impacts both your innate and adaptive immune responses. If you feel tired or fatigued without reason, talk with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement to counteract this problem, but make sure not to take too much. To ensure you have a healthy balance of vitamin D in the body, you must also supplement your intake with vitamin K2-7. This supplement works alongside vitamin A and vitamin D to achieve advanced immune support.
Take Probiotics to Boost Immune Health
Probiotics are essential to gut health and greatly affect your immune system in a positive and boosting way. Because 70-80% of your immune system is found in your digestive tract, the healthier your gut, the stronger your immune system, and the less likely you’ll be to develop leaky gut. Signs of a leaky gut include autoimmune disorders, food allergies, abdominal discomfort, fatigue and more.
Probiotics specifically designed to improve gut health are well-known for fostering intestinal epithelial cell survival, which is paramount to protecting your body from pathogenic microbes and toxins. And remember when we talked about innate immunity? Probiotics can enhance innate immunity, which mitigates excessive inflammation in the gut and strengthens the immune system.
It's important to choose probiotics that contain the patented strain Bacillus Indicus HU36. These probiotics are formulated with "gut commensal" organisms (which means they are native to the intestines and only want to live there) that are known to flourish in the microflora, which helps to create antioxidants and carotenoids directly inside the body, where they can be best absorbed. In turn, these type of probiotics strengthen your immune system and improve your digestive health, not to mention your whole body health.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for strengthening the immune system. Vitamin supplements combined with exercise and a carefully-curated diet, however, can significantly improve gut health.
It's not uncommon for poor immune health to go unnoticed. Once immune health is compromised, though, symptoms will quickly become your number one enemy, including allergies, the flu, fatigue, and more. Educating yourself on immune system disorders and implementing changes to your lifestyle to help your body heal is an excellent starting point for living a healthier and happy life.