THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF EVERYONES MIND IN TODAY'S WORLD. LEARN HOW TO NATURALLY SUPPORT YOUR OPTIMAL IMMUNE FUNCTION.
How To Naturally Boost the
Immune System & Avoid Infections
The Immune System and Infections are at the forefront of most people's minds in the world's current landscape. There is a complex interplay between the human circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle), hormones, and the immune system that needs a healthy balanced system to thrive. Unfortunately, many people have chronic conditions or chronic exposure to sources of inflammation, which compromise the immune system, making them more susceptible to developing infections or new symptoms and diseases.
Fortunately, there are lots of great, natural ways to bolster or regulate the immune system and fight off microbes in the environment. Natural supplements, herbs, and a healthy lifestyle provide great options for ways to boost and regulate the immune system for optimal function. Before we dive into the specifics of how to naturally boost the immune system, first we need to get a good idea of what the immune system is.
WHAT IS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM?
The immune system protects living beings from infectious agents in the environment that are able to breach the physical barriers of the body such as the skin, the digestive tract, or the airways. It is composed mainly of white blood cells, the thymus, the spleen, the lymphatic system, and all the chemical messengers all working in cohesion to properly defend the body. The immune system is activated due to a multitude of inflammatory chemical messengers or signals that are released when foreign cells enter the body.
The immune system has two distinct systems, the innate and adaptive immune systems, respectively providing immediate responses to microbes and long term protection from infectious agents that the body has previously been exposed to (immunity). These two systems communicate and work in unison to continuously thwart the efforts of any microbes attacking the body.
Sometimes the immune system can go a bit haywire and will start recognizing normal or healthy cells in the body as a threat, known as autoimmunity. It can even begin to miss infectious agents that have hid inside cells leading to autoimmune disease and immunodeficiency. Thankfully, the development of hygiene and modernized medicine has prevented many people from being as susceptible to infectious diseases as they once were, yet it still takes a great deal of work and mindfulness to keep the immune system in a healthy, balanced state.
HOW TO AVOID IMPAIRED IMMUNE FUNCTION & INFECTIONS
Chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of immune-related dysfunction. Inflammation may stem from dysfunctional body systems, toxins in the environment, or infectious agents that are attacking the body. The easiest way to reduce inflammation in the body and improve immune function is by looking at things that humans routinely do, eat, or drink on a day to day basis.
Here are a few of our top recommendations to avoid common sources of inflammation and immune dysfunction:
Avoid Unhealthy Fats
Fats are essential for health, but many of the fats we get from packaged foods, fast food, and restaurants are inflammatory in nature and impair the natural functions of the body.
These fats are typically highly processed but they can also be found in naturally occurring oils such as soy or corn oil, which are high in omega-6s, and even red meat, which is high in arachidonic acid.
Avoid Prolonged Stress
Stress is a functionally healthy response that provides the ability for living beings to survive extremely challenging situations, it saps the body of its vitality when it becomes chronic in nature
Long-term exposure to stress will directly decrease immune cell function and overall immune system balance which allows it to properly react with organisms or toxins it may experience in the environment.
Chronic stress is also associated with depression and anxiety which are also known to impair the immune system’s ability to function properly.
Try reading, writing, meditating, exercising, or any common form of de-stressing technique out there to find what works for you.
An extremely inflammatory toxin that disrupts the whole digestive system including the liver which helps clear toxins from the body.
As toxins build up in the body, inflammation increases and impairs the body’s ability to fight microbes.
To avoid drinking alcohol, try finding a fulfilling alternative such as tea, sparkling water, or kombucha and try to remove as much alcohol from the household as possible.
Simple carbohydrates are naturally occurring plant sugar and can be considered anything ranging from pure refined white sugar to a hot baked russet potato or highly refined pasta.
Microbes thrive in high sugar environments and paired with the inflammatory nature of sugar, it creates the perfect opportunity for microbes to attack or infect the body.
Avoid sweets and treats, snack foods, crackers, and drinks and can easily be identified on the ingredients label of the packaging.
Avoid Environmental Toxins
Environmental toxins include things such as heavy metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons from fuel, and plastics. All of these toxins can be found throughout many ecosystems today and humans are exposed to them constantly through different mediums including food, furniture, and common household or toiletry products.
Toxins in the environment will create inflammation throughout the body by directly damaging DNA affecting the cell's ability to function and causes many of the vital organs of the body leading to immune dysfunction which can often manifest as the development of cancer or long-standing infections.
To avoid the most common sources of environmental toxins high-quality air filters should be used in one’s home, with a water filtration system for the whole house, only drinking high quality purified water, eating organic foods as much as possible, and sticking to products whose ingredients could be read and understood by a 10-year-old.
How to naturally support the immune system
Pre & Probiotic Foods
Vegetables and plants are generally considered to be prebiotic foods, so this ties in nicely with a plant-based diet. Prebiotic foods, or fiber rich foods, provide the majority of a gut bacteria’s fuel to ensure that beneficial gut bacteria are healthy and thriving.
Sometimes healthy gut bacteria need to be supplemented with probiotics, such as sauerkraut or yogurt, to support the overall function of the gut microbiome.
Healthy bacteria in the digestive system help fight off infectious microbes, protect the gut lining, produce enzymes that help break down food, and also provide important nutrients like vitamin K.
High Quality Sleep
30% of life is spent in the sleep state and it may be one of the most vital things that humans do as it is when the body does the bulk of its healing and recovery from the stressors it is put through each day.
Unfortunately many people today are getting not only less sleep but worse sleep than ever. With poor sleep comes poor healing, which burdens and compromises all systems of the body, including the immune system.
To get better sleep avoid blue light for at least an hour before sleep, ensuring the room is dark and cool while going to sleep at a consistent time every night.
Plant Based Diet
Eating a diet rich in plants is something every human on this planet should strive to do as they are extremely abundant in vitamins, minerals, and compounds that are essential for optimal immune cell function.
Overall plant-based diets, in general, support the health of our vital organs and provide the type of nutrition that can reverse years of damage and dysfunction and should be considered as part of any treatment regiment.
There are lots of great and flavorful plants that are often forgotten when it comes to cuisine, so adding more vegetables to one's diet can be a great way to explore culinary abilities in the kitchen while discovering new meals that are quick, easy, and still extremely nutritious.
Exercise, be it running, surfing, or gardening helps drive more blood to our tissues to flush toxins and metabolic byproducts that may be causing inflammation or pain.
Furthermore, it stimulates the release of hormones throughout the body that boost cellular activity and directly increase white blood cell function.
The more a person exercises the healthier they will be, with an immune system that is primed to fight off infections anywhere in the body. For beginners, 30 minutes of brisk walking a few times a week can be a good place to start, but finding a hobby or enjoyable sport to play with a community may be one of the funniest and motivating forms of getting exercise.
Nutritional Supplements & Herbs
The skin, which is the body’s largest organ, produces and stores the highest concentrations of vitamin D precursor molecules (7-dihydroxy-cholecalciferol) in the body. It is this precursor molecule that needs to be stimulated by sunlight to begin the process of conversion to activated vitamin D (25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol).
The body uses activated vitamin D for various functions that include serum calcium and phosphorus regulation which plays a huge factor in bone health and development, immune function, heart function, muscular function, and enzyme production such as insulin (11).
Unfortunately most people today have low vitamin D levels which have extensively been shown to render these individuals more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections, poor organ function, and poor mental health (10).
Many skins and general health experts will recommend that vitamin D should be supplemented on a daily basis, as more than half of the hospitalized and chronically sick patients have insufficient vitamin D levels.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb with a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. Recent studies have shown that it has the innate ability to build resilience to stress, lower inflammation, and regulate the immune system. (1,2).
Two compounds in ashwagandha seem to inhibit overactivity of the immune system by preventing immune cell migration and the release of inflammatory enzymes that ramp up immune system activity.
Furthermore, there is good evidence to suggest that it supports bone marrow function which results in healthy red and white blood cells necessary for the body to function at its optimal level.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Humans, unlike most animals, are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, so it is essential that it is either supplemented or introduced to the diet via a number of fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C is extremely important for developing healthy connective tissue, producing neurotransmitters, and acting as a powerful antioxidant. It is thought to benefit the immune system by replenishing vitamin C levels in white blood cells that are typically found to be drastically reduced in acute and chronic infections or disease processes.
Anti-oxidants are essential for neutralizing toxic compounds released by infectious agents while the body is trying to combat them (4,5). Vitamin C is one of the most important and essential antioxidants in the body making it a great choice for anyone dealing with immune-related issues.
Zinc is a trace mineral that is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymatic processes in the body and plays a vital role in a large number of other biological processes. Zinc is necessary to generate major anti-oxidants and is involved in a number of enzymatic reactions involved in metabolism, immune function, and toxin clearance from the body.
Considered the “Gate-Keeper of Immune Function”, its immune-enhancing activities include regulation of a variety of immune cells and chemical messengers, it has also been claimed that zinc possesses antiviral activity (6,7).
Zinc has been known to lessen the severity and duration of respiratory infections while also strongly preventing reinfection, or other respiratory infections, for up to 6 months or more following proper supplementation. It is an essential mineral that should be considered as part of any healthcare routine.
At LifeSolutions Natural Products we pride ourselves on providing professionally formulated and high bioavailability liquid supplements that outperform all other supplements on the market. Liquid supplements are up to 5 times more absorbable than capsule-based supplements meaning that you get more value for every dollar spent and your body gets higher doses of vitamins everyday to ensure optimal health and superior immune function.
Experience the liquid advantage today and bolster your immune system for the coming fall and winter that is sure to see lots of immune related stressors.
SHARING OUR KNOWLEDGE
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1. Bhat J, Damle A, Vaishnav PP, et al. In vivo enhancement of natural killer cell activity through tea fortified with Ayurvedic herbs. Phytother.Res. 2010;24(1):129-135.
2. Tripathi, M. K., Singh, P., Sharma, S., Singh, T. P., Ethayathulla, A. S., & Kaur, P. (2020). Identification of bioactive molecule from Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) as SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitor. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 1-14.
3. Sharma, A., Chanu, T. I., & Deo, A. D. (2017). Dietary ashwagandha, Withania somnifera (L. dunal) potentiates growth, haemato-biochemical response and disease resistance of Labeo rohita (Hamilton, 1822) against Aeromonas hydrophila infection. J. Entomol. Zool. Stud., 5(5), 1113-1119.
4. NationalInstitutesofHealth[Internet].Maryland:[updated2016Feb11;cited2016Dec2]. Vitamin C fact sheet for health professionals; [about 14 pages]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/.
5. Carr, A. C., & Maggini, S. (2017). Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients, 9(11), 1211.
6. Wessels, I., Maywald, M., & Rink, L. (2017). Zinc as a gatekeeper of immune function. Nutrients, 9(12), 1286.
7. Skalny, A. V., Rink, L., Ajsuvakova, O. P., Aschner, M., Gritsenko, V. A., Alekseenko, S. I., ... & Tsatsakis, A. (2020). Zinc and respiratory tract infections: Perspectives for COVID‑19. International Journal of Molecular Medicine, 46(1), 17-26.
8. Sun, Z., Xu, Z., Wang, D., Yao, H., & Li, S. (2018). Selenium deficiency inhibits differentiation and immune function and imbalances the Th1/Th2 of dendritic cells. Metallomics, 10(5), 759-767.
10. Chirumbolo, S., Bjørklund, G., Sboarina, A., & Vella, A. (2017). The role of vitamin D in the immune system as a pro-survival molecule. Clinical therapeutics, 39(5), 894-916.
11. Sassi, F., Tamone, C., & D’Amelio, P. (2018). Vitamin D: nutrient, hormone, and immunomodulator. Nutrients, 10(11), 1656.