- Health & Wellness
by Scott Prisco
By Scott Prisco
The Immune System is comprised of various organs, cells, and proteins. Together, they protect the body from harmful outside pathogens and inside cell changes that cause colds, viruses, infections, and cancers. Furthermore, when it’s weak or not functioning properly, you get ill.
There are a number of daily practices most people aren’t aware of that can spoil the immune system, causing you to get sick more frequently. Read below to get the 6 ways you could be hurting your immune system and how to avoid them.
1. Heavy Training
Getting the proper amount of exercise is great for your body! Frequent movement helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells and tissues to boost the immune system. In addition, it improves brain function, mood, sleep, heart health, lung health, anti-aging, muscle growth, fat loss, and much more.
Even for something as beneficial as exercising there’s a point where “healthy” turns “harmful”. Studies show that too much exercise can actually reduce your body’s immune response. Over-exercisers often times find themselves battling illness more frequently. Furthermore, their symptoms tend to last longer and be more severe compared to those who exercise in moderation (1), (2).
All in all, make sure you are being cautious not to overdo it. An hour of exercise 4-5 times a week, in most cases, is usually enough!
2. Chronic Stress
When you are stressed, your immune systems ability to fight off antigens (toxic foreign substances that make you sick) is minimized. A white blood cell called lymphocytes is responsible for fighting these antigens. The stress hormone corticosteroid (created by stress) lowers the number of lymphocytes, suppressing the effectiveness of the immune system. In other words, making it easier for you to get sick.
There are a few different supplements that may be helpful for lowering stress levels. Cannabidiol, since becoming legal in 2018, has quickly become mainstream. Many CBD users find it great for relieving stress. In fact, “Studies strongly support CBD as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder” (3).
L-Lysine has shown to be effective in blocking receptors responsible for creating stress, making it a promising treatment for chronic anxiety. In a one-week study, 108 healthy Japanese adults were given L-Lysine on a daily basis. It lowered both stress-induced anxiety and levels of the stress hormone corticosteroid (4).
3. Not Enough Sleep
While sleeping, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. These Cytokines act as chemical messengers to regulate the innate and adaptive immune systems. Both systems work to eliminate infectious pathogens, keeping you healthy (5), (6).
People who don’t get good quality sleep or the proper amount of sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover from illness. The average person should get about 7-9 hours a night.
Sleep deprivation also leads to increased levels of stress. As we know from above, stress affects the body’s ability to fight off outside hazards and harmful changes that happen within.
Several trials have shown CBD to be an effective sleep aid. Researchers believe that CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors in the brain to promote a night of restful, sound sleep. In a study published by the journal of clinical pharmacology, subjects given CBD slept better than those given a placebo (7).
4. An Unhealthy Diet
Getting the proper nutrition from a healthy, well-balanced diet is vital for the immune system. Macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) support the growth and activity of immune cells as well as protect them. Moreover, the right nutrients are needed for the body to make antibodies that fight pathogens (8), (9).
Having a well-balanced diet means eating whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and drinking plenty of water on a daily basis. Keep processed foods at a minimum as they create inflammation and dampen your overall immune response. (10).
5. Excess Drinking
Alcohol makes it hard for the immune system to defend the body by damaging the immune cells responsible for fighting pathogens. Furthermore, alcohol causes inflammation in the gut. This destroys the microorganisms that live there and are crucial for immune health (11).
Recently, the WHO stated that alcohol consumption makes a person more vulnerable to Coronavirus (12). Alcohol damages the lining in a person’s airway, allowing viral particles like COVID-19 easy access in the body.
In order to prevent heavy drinking try filling your time with healthier activities. For example: watch a show, play a game, read a book! You can even try substituting an alcoholic beverage with a delicious mocktail.
Numerous studies show that being overweight negatively affects important processes and pathways in the body. Obesity impairs the immune response by decreasing cytokine production, altering white blood cell function, and reducing the body’s response to antigens (14).
Obese people usually aren’t getting the proper nutrition from a well-balanced diet needed to maintain bodily functions. Taking an immune boost supplement is a great way to make sure you are getting the proper nutrients to keep your immune system strong.
To get your ideal weight try google imaging “height and weight chart”. If your serious about making a change speak to a nutritionist about how you can lose weight and form healthy, sustainable habits.
For the 9 best supplements to boost your immune system click HERE!