How can you improve your immune system? On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
What can you do to boost your immune system?
The immune system is exactly what -- a method, not one thing. To operate well, it requires stability and balance. There is still much that investigators don't know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of this immune reaction. For the time being, there are no clinically established direct connections between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.
But that does not mean the consequences of lifestyle on the immune system are not fascinating and should not be analyzed. Researchers are researching the consequences of diet, exercise, age, emotional stress, and other variables on the immune response, both in animals and in people. In the meantime, overall healthy-living plans are a good approach to begin giving your immune system the upper hand.
Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system.
Your first line of defense is to select a healthful lifestyle. Following overall good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward obviously maintaining your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, such as your immune system, works better when shielded from assaults and bolstered by strategies such as these:
1. Don't smoke.
2. Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
3. Exercise regularly.
4. Keep a healthy weight.
5. Get adequate sleep.
6. Take steps to prevent disease, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
Immune system and age
As we age, our immune reaction capacity becomes diminished, which then contributes to more illnesses and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed nations has improved, so has the prevalence of age-related ailments.
Even though some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, prone to die from these. Nobody knows for certain why this happens, however, some scientists observe this greater risk coincides with a drop in T cells, possibly by the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight infection. Whether this reduction in thymus function describes the drop in T cells or whether other changes play a role isn't fully understood. Others are considering whether the bone marrow becomes much less efficient at producing the stem cells that provide rise to the cells of their immune system.
A decrease in immune response to infections has been shown by older people's reaction to vaccines. For instance, studies of influenza vaccines have shown that for individuals over age 65, the vaccine is much less successful in comparison to healthy children (over age 2). But despite the decrease in effectiveness, vaccinations for flu and S. pneumonia have significantly lowered the rates of sickness and death in elderly people compared with no vaccination.
A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as"micronutrient malnutrition." Micronutrient malnutrition, in which a person is deficient in certain essential vitamins and trace minerals that are obtained out of or supplemented by diet, may be common in the elderly. 1 important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. Elderly people should talk about this question with a doctor who's well versed in geriatric nutrition because although a few dietary supplementations might be beneficial for elderly people, even small changes can have severe repercussions within this age category.
Diet and immune system.
Like some other fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors want good, regular nourishment. Researchers have long understood that people who reside in poverty and are far more prone to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition's effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of people, and even fewer studies that correlate the consequences of nourishment right into the evolution (versus the treatment) of diseases.
On the other hand, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less apparent, and the effect of similar deficiencies in the human immune response has not yet been assessed.
What do you do? If you suspect that your diet isn't providing you with all your micronutrient needs -- perhaps, for instance, you don't like vegetables -- taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health advantages, beyond any possible beneficial effects on the immune system. Accepting megadoses of vitamin do not. More is not always better but choose the best supplement brand wisely.
Improve immunity with herb and supplements
You can also use supplements to boost the immune system. Walk into a store, and you'll find bottles of pills and herbal preparations which claim to"support immunity" or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. While some preparations have been found to change several elements of immune function, so far there's no proof that they actually bolster immunity to the point at which you are better protected against disease and infection. Demonstrating if an herb -- or some other substance, for that matter -- can improve immunity is, as yet, a highly complex matter. Scientists do not know, by way of example, if an herb that appears to raise the number of antibodies in blood is actually doing anything valuable for total immunity.