The innate immune system is able to identify foreign invaders and immediately respond to them. This system is important in order to protect the body from harmful substances.
The response to an infection triggers the arrival of cells called neutrophils, which attack the infection, followed by macrophages that attack bacteria and viruses.
Macrophages release cytokines in order to communicate with other cells when they encounter an enemy. Cytokines are small proteins that carry information. The immune system is activated by cytokines, which give the immune cells direction to fight.
Cytokines also contain information that triggers the adaptive immune system to start working. Your adaptive immune system uses the information it has to decide which forces to use to defend your body.
The adaptive immune system responds to foreign substances in the body by producing lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that help fight infection. First, it targets specialized T cells to the specific intruder. The second thing it does is activate B cells to start pumping out antibodies.
If part of your immune system is not working properly, you are more likely to get sick.
There are two ways to optimize your immune system: being ready and having balance. A hyperactive immune system is when your body’s immune response is constantly active and attacking things it shouldn’t. This can include allergens and your own cells.
Keep reading to find out how you can support your immune system to make sure it’s functioning properly.
A healthy diet that is rich in plants is the first step in supporting your metabolism and the trillions of microbes that live in your gut and play an important role in your health, well-being, and immunity.
The connection between diet and health has been understood for a long time, but only recently has there been significant research into how what we eat interacts with our gut microbes and affects our overall health, immune function, and mental well-being.
The latest research has revealed important insights into nutrition and the microbiome. A recent study found that even genetically identical twins have unique responses to the same foods, and that the quality of your diet affects the microbes in your gut and your metabolic health.
We’re not trying to say that diet can replace medical treatment or that it solves all problems, but eating in a way that supports your microbiome can have a positive effect on all aspects of your health.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for overall health and mental well-being A lack of sleep has a significant impact on health, but one third of people don’t get enough.
There is a close connection between sleep and metabolic health, according to research. A number of studies have found that how well a person sleeps can affect their blood sugar levels if they don’t have diabetes. Insufficient sleep has an adverse effect on glucose tolerance. If a person who already has diabetes or prediabetes, has poor sleep regularly their condition will worsen.
An irregular sleep pattern or poor sleep quality was linked to worse blood sugar control this could create short- and long-term health problems.
It can be tough to get enough good quality sleep, particularly if you’re stressed or have small children. Around 30% of adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night .
3. Physical Activity
Staying physically active has a plethora of benefits for both one’s physical and mental health, as research has amply shown. Everyone can benefit from being more active.
This does not mean that you have to beat yourself up in the gym or run a marathon, unless that is what you love to do. The best activity is the one you actually do and enjoy, whether it’s playing sports, dancing, gardening, walking, or anything else.
According to the CDC physical activity: improves brain health, manages weight, reduces risk for disease, strengthens bones and muscles and improves your ability to do everyday activities.
Physical activity of any kind is beneficial to your health. Even if you aren’t very fit, moving around in a way that makes you feel good and gets your heart rate up will have positive impacts on your health.
4. Ensure Vitamin D and Magnesium are at Healthy Levels
Vitamin D is known to help support a healthy immune system. It’s a molecule that is important for communication between the different parts of the immune system.
Vitamin D plays a role in regulating the production and activity of antiviral cells in the innate immune system, which is the body’s first line of defense.
It stimulates the production of antimicrobial peptides in the cells lining your lungs, noses, and respiratory tracts. These peptides work to prevent viruses from binding to cell surfaces. This means that people with healthy levels of vitamin D are less likely to get a cold.
Vitamin D helps to regulate the production of T cells, which are a type of white blood cell that helps the body fight infection. Remember that your T cells release cytokines. Cytokines can either be inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. When an infection occurs, vitamin D triggers the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and reduces the production of proinflammatory cytokines.
A vitamin D deficiency can lead to complications from colds and flus, including pneumonia.
If your vitamin D levels are low, your immune system will not be working as well as it should and you will be more likely to be out of balance. If you’re an adult with low levels of vitamin D, you’re more likely to get an upper respiratory infection.
A study found that individuals with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to get upper respiratory infections. Participants with a recent upper respiratory infection had lower levels of vitamin D than those without.
Magnesium is also important for the immune system and helps Vitamin D work effectively. If your magnesium levels are low, your T cells won’t be effective in seeking out and destroying invaders.
Low magnesium levels decrease your cytokines production. Fewer cytokines means less information for an appropriate response. If you are deficient in magnesium, you are more likely to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines rather than anti-inflammatory ones.
At least 50% of people don’t get the recommended daily intake of magnesium, which is the bare minimum they need. This means magnesium deficiencies are extremely common.
Magnesium is important for helping your airway muscles relax and keeping your immune cells balanced. If you’re deficient in magnesium, you may be more prone to airway spasms when exposed to irritants. Since magnesium is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body, a deficiency can lead to a weakened immune system.
Vitamin D and magnesium are both independently important for the immune system. They are more beneficial together because magnesium activates vitamin D.
5. Use Medicinal Mushrooms and Probiotics
Mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for a long time. Mushrooms like Reishi, Shiitake, and Chaga that are found in Eastern areas have been used for hundreds, and possibly thousands, of years in Eastern medicine.
Mushroom extracts can cause immune cells to produce cytokines. They can also stimulate your B cells to produce an appropriate level of antibodies.
Mushrooms help improve your immune system while also keeping it in balance. It doesn’t tend to worsen allergies or autoimmunity. The beneficial properties of medicinal mushrooms make them a great way to support immune readiness and gut health.
Some of the superstars of medicinal mushrooms are:
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) helps your body’s immune cells work more effectively and regulation the body’s response to immune threats.
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) support natural immune defenses
- Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes) is known to boost the immune system by increasing the production of immune cells and antibodies, as well as by reducing inflammation.
- Turkey Tail is a mushroom that is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and promotes healthy gut flora, supporting natural immune defense against viruses and bacteria.
- Cordyceps helps the body’s natural ability to fight infection and maintain a healthy gut.
- Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) supports the activity of healthy immune cells throughout your body, and more specifically in your gut, by supporting your mucosal lining.
Around 70 to 80 percent of your immune system cells are located in your digestive system. There are three types of bacteria living in your gut: good, neutral, and bad. They all live on top of the protective mucosal barrier.
The mucus and a layer of epithelial cells protect the area from outside forces. If the bacteria in your gut gets past the barrier, it will enter your bloodstream and cause problems.
The immune system is constantly on the lookout for any potential threats that might try to enter the body.
The last line of defense for your gut is where the majority of your immune system is located. The body is filled with macrophages waiting to attack and B cells ready to produce antibodies.
The good bacteria in your gut (probiotics) are important for maintaining a healthy gut and strong immune system. Probiotics increase the number of macrophages in the gut that kill bacteria and promote the survival of epithelial cells.
Probiotics are important for keeping the immune system balanced by enhancing your innate immune system and decreasing inflammation.
This meta-analysis of 33 clinical studies found that probiotics are effective in reducing respiratory infections. Therefore, probiotics may support your body’s immune readiness.
Probiotics are critical for preventing and healing leaky gut. Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the intestines is damaged, allowing undigested food, toxins, and bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
Your digestive system will not function properly if you have a leaky gut, as this will impact your immune system.
A “leaky gut” can prevent you from getting the full benefit from Vitamin D regarding boosting your immune system. The absorption of vitamin D through the gut is essential for the body. A leaky gut allows unwanted particles to enter the bloodstream, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system.
6. Social Life and Health Habits
A wealth of research spanning multiple decades has shown that maintaining strong social ties is linked to improved health and longevity. The health behaviors of the people around us have a tendency to influence our own health behaviors.
Smoking – Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally, accounting for an estimated 7 million deaths each year. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health, whether you have lung cancer or not.
Alcohol Consumption – Drinking alcohol in moderation is not highly risky for most people, especially if the alcohol consumed is red wine, which is rich in polyphenols. However, drinking alcohol excessively on a regular basis is clearly linked to many serious diseases.
Staying up to date on vaccinations and regular screenings can help keep you at your best. Early treatments usually have the best outcomes.
Good hygiene is important. You can avoid catching bugs by taking steps such as washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
There are no short cuts, gimmicks, or unrealistic guarantees here. There’s no one perfect diet, supplement, or way to guarantee avoiding any condition.
Because humans are complex and messy, it is difficult to understand what contributes to health and disease.
There are some things we know are beneficial for our health, but there’s still a lot we don’t know.
It is important to note that these different aspects of health are interconnected and support one another. But they can also impact each other. Bad sleep can lead to a number of problems, such as poor metabolic responses and unhealthy snacking habits.
Some of these areas may be easier to improve than others, depending on your circumstances and pre-existing conditions. You can improve your health by making small positive changes in any of these areas.