Give Your Immune System a Fighting Chance

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You hear a lot about the importance of boosting or reinforcing your immune system – but do you understand what that means, or how to do it?

Let’s talk about how it works.

Your immune system is a group of cells, organs, and tissues spread throughout your body.

Bacteria invade your body, multiply and attack healthy cells and tissue causing infection. Infection can cause diseases and make you sick.

Your immune system patrols the body and fights off infection.

If you’re healthy your immune system can focus on destroying bacteria, viruses, and disease. Your daily habits contribute to how your immune system functions.

There are changes you can make to support your immune system and keep it in fighting form!

Nutrition

Eat a diet high in fiber, fruit, and vegetables. This helps to get some of the nutrients and minerals needed to support your immune system. Poor nutrition impairs the immune system. We need proper micronutrients for the immune system to function well. These include gut fighting bacteria, vitamins B6, B12, vitamin C and E as well as Zinc, and Selenium.

Don’t forget Glutathione! It’s the mother of all antioxidants. A protein produced by the liver that creates white blood cells. White blood cells attack and dispose of foreign tissue and bacteria.

A healthy immune system has a finely balanced level of glutathione.

Glutathione contains the essential amino acids and vitamin E needed for a healthy immune system. It is so significant that the slightest change in the balance of glutathione levels has a profound effect on the immune system.

Plus, glutathione has a vital function in regulating cellular balance and DNA integrity. A 1996 double-blind trial suggests that immune systems with glutathione deficiency may be significantly enhanced and potentially restored by supplementation of glutathione.

Exercise

Try to workout two or more days a week, and exercise to the point where you raise your heartbeat and work up a sweat. If you can’t make it to the gym, try to get in at least 30 minutes of activity each day, or get in 6000 steps.

Studies show that exercising at least two days a week can reduce sick days due to colds and flu.

Healthy Weight

Exercise & diet aren’t all that’s involved in maintaining a healthy weight. The immune system controls the calories we absorb and decides what nutrients we need. Antibiotics destroy natural occurring microbes in our gut that break down nutrients. The breakdown is necessary so they can pass through the bowel walls into our bloodstream. Studies show that a reduction in these microbes causes an inflammatory response. This may lead to weight gain. The immune system in the gut controls the balance of these microbes. As we age or get sick this system breaks down and allows bacteria to grow out of control leading to weight gain.

Get Adequate Sleep

Get at least 8 hours a night of rest. Your body needs proper rest to fight infection. Infection fighting antibodies get reduced if you don’t get enough sleep. This increases your risk for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. So put your phone away, turn off the light and go to sleep!

Stress Management

When we get stressed our brain signals the endocrine system to flood the body with cortisol. This prepares us for a fight or flight response. To preserve energy our brain shuts down systems, including the immune system. Cortisol decreases white blood cells speeding up infection and tissue damage. Recognize the signs of stress and learn management techniques to reduce this response.

Don’t Smoke 

Smoking is not only hazardous to your health, but the second-hand smoke harms others who inhale it. Even light smokers risk heart disease, strokes, cancer, and respiratory infections. Smoking can also cause cataracts, low sperm counts and fertility problems. Smoking taxes the immune system leaving it unable to fight new infections and viruses. Nicotine is addictive and very difficult to give up. Speak to your doctor about quitting today.

Limit Alcohol

Drink alcohol in moderation. A study on the effects of alcohol on the immune system showed alcohol-reduced immunity. Researchers drenched cells in alcohol. When bacteria and infection attacked the cells were only able to put up a quarter of the defense of sober cells.

Wash Those Hands

Wash hands with soap and water before and after touching food, eyes, nose, mouth, or cuts, or using the bathroom. Our skin is a protective barrier against germs and bacteria. Still they can still enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, absorption. The Center for Disease Control estimates 500,000 children die each year as a result of not washing their hands. Don’t be lazy; wash your hands!

Immunize

Vaccines support the immune system in fighting infections faster. Getting a vaccine is like putting your immune system through a training boot camp. Vaccines contain small amounts of weak or dead germs, so they can’t make you sick. Vaccines ignite an immune response to fight off the infection. This allows your immune system to remember the bacteria, so it is ready to attack if it ever invades again. Getting vaccinated creates community immunity, which protects unvaccinated people around you.

References

Boosting the Immune System, From Science to Myth: Analysis the Infosphere With Google by Cassa Macedo, André Oliveira Vilela de Faria and Pietro Ghezzi, Frontiers in Medicine, 25 July 2019, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2019.00165/full

How the immune system works by Tim Newman, Medical News Today, January 2818, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320101.php

Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses By S Maggini, E.S. Wintergerst, S. Beveridge and D.H. Hornig, British Journal of Nutrition, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114507832971

The immune system: a target for functional foods? By P.C. Caler and S. Key, National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2017, 10.1079/BJN2002682 Glutathione, Korfactor, http://korfactor.com/glutathione/

Light and social smoking carry cardiovascular risks, Harvard Medical School, November 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/light-and-social-smoking-carry-cardiovascular-risks

Effects of exercise on immune function and risk of infection by Michael Gleeson, September 2016, mysportscience,
https://www.mysportscience.com/single-post/2016/09/25/Strategies-to-reduce-illness-risk-in-athletes-Part-1-Behavioural-lifestyle-and-medical-strategies

The Fundamental Link Between Body Weight and the Immune System by James Hamblin, Aug 2019, The Atlantic – Health, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/08/inflammations-immune-system-obesity-microbiome/595384/

Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick? By Eric J. Olson, M.D., Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757

How Stress Affects the Immune System by A. Goliszek, Ph.D., Psychology Today, November 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system

Too much booze blunts your immune system, by A. Coghlan, September 2011, HEALTH, https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20983-too-much-booze-blunts-your-immune-system/

How does not washing your hands make you a healthier person? By Dr. C.S. Baird, May 2013, Science Questions with Surprising Answers, https://wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2013/05/03/how-does-not-washing-your-hands-make-you-a-healthier-person/

The immune system and immunization, The Immunisation Advisory Centre, https://www.immune.org.nz/immunisation/immune-system-vaccination

Akerlund, B, Jarstrand, C, Lindeke, B, Sönnerborg, A, Akerblad, A-Ac, & Rasool, O (1996) Effect of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) treatment on HIV-1 infection: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 50, 457–461.Google Scholar | PubMed

Glutathione and immune function by W. Droge and R. Breitkreutz, Cambridge University Press, February 2007,
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/glutathione-and-immune-
function/39488A395CB25E88283204A938A4CBD9

Categories: Glutathione

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