Lifestyle Tips: Enhancing the immune system

lifestyle-immune

Microorganisms are like the air; they are everywhere. Every second of your lives, you come into contact with viruses and bacteria. Although this might sound scary, it is not. The reason why you haven’t drop dead yet is that your immune system is doing a remarkable job in repelling the invaders. The immune system, just like the heart, is at work every second and never take a break. In this article, we will discuss a few simple lifestyle tips to enhance your immune system.

Although it is tempting to isolate yourself from the rest of the world and wrap yourself in a bubble wrap, it is not a natural nor sensible way to live our lives. To never go outside in fear of viral infection is as ridiculous as to never pick up heavy objects in fear of breaking your arms.

The more sensible thing to do is to keep the immune system at an optimal level, so you don’t get sick each time the wind changes direction. This way, you can live your lives free of the fear of infection lurking at every corner.

The good news is, you don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary to maintain a healthy immune system. I am talking about a healthy lifestyle, which everybody should be doing anyway, viruses-bacteria or not.

Keeping the immune system strong is no different than maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle leads to a healthy immune system, the two increase or decrease in unison.

Key lifestyle to enhance the immune system:

Many people look into diet and nutrition to boost their immune system. Although good diet and nutrition are vital, nevertheless, healthy lifestyle habits should not be forgotten, for they are required to complete the picture.

Good night’s sleep

Sleep is something that every person does. And yet it is the one thing that most people never get enough. Study shows that a proper sleep pattern and circadian rhythm exert a strong regulatory influence on immune functions (1).

A study from the University of Tubingen, Germany, found that a good night’s sleep magnifies the effectiveness of special immune cells known as T cells (2).

The T cell or T Lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell that is an essential part of the immune system. T cells bind with a foreign antigen and kill it before it causes damage to your body.

It is a well-known fact that you tend to get sicker more often when you don’t get adequate sleep. A study from the University of Washington, USA, shows a prolonged sleep deprivation of fewer than 7 hours causes a marked reduction of antibody response against viruses (3).

Getting enough sleep is the first step toward enhancing the immune system.

Daily moderate exercise

The link between exercise and health is a no brainer and needs no explanation. By that, I mean a moderate duration and intensity form of physical exercises such as jogging or yoga, not running a marathon or intense heavy training.

What most people don’t realise is too much exercise is as bad as too little exercise. Consequently, heavy and intense training for an extended duration will increase inflammation in the body and depress the immune function. This fact may be surprising for so many people; however, it is a well-researched subject.

Many studies in the last 100 years have shown that intense and prolonged heavy exercise suppresses the functions of the immune cells such as the immunoglobulin, natural killer cell and T- and B-cell (456789101112) as well as increases inflammatory biomarkers in the body.

On the contrary, moderate-intensity exercise under 60 minutes daily increases the active immune cells and promotes the antipathogen activity of immune cells (1314151617181920).

In short, take a more sensible and moderate approach to exercise. 30 to 45 mins of brisk walking every morning will do you good. In contrast, an intense marathon runs for 2 hours straight is counter-productive. Moderation is key to enhancing the immune system.

Outdoor and fresh air

There are many reasons for being outdoors, apart from fresher air. Being outdoor exposes you with more sunlight, the much-needed component for the production of the immune-enhancing vitamin D.

Furthermore, being indoor quite often exposes you with more household mould. Mould toxins in old buildings caused by dampness are much more prevalent than most people think. Likewise, we often overlook the damaging effect of indoor mould toxins on our health. Millions of homes today may have Toxic Home Syndrome caused by the circulation of indoor mould and chemical gas coming from a washing machine or vacuum cleaner (21). Consequently, Toxic Home Syndrome raises the risk of heart disease, respiratory sickness and even cancer (22).

A study (23) show that indoor mould not only kills cells but also put a strain on your overall immune system. Little mould spores enter the lungs can cause damage to the alveoli, the cauliflower shape cavities which make up the basic units of respiration. As a result, by removing indoor mould, many asthma patients find relief to their condition (24).

In short, fresh air is priceless for not only your immune system but also your overall health. What is more, fresh air is uplifting to your mood, reliefs stress and makes you joyous, promotes the clarity of mind, clears the lungs, supports circulation by breathing in more oxygen, and helps in enhancing the immune system.

If your home is suffering from Toxic Home Syndrome and you are unable to move. Try opening all windows whenever you can, thus, allowing fresh air to come in and dirty air to come out. In the same manner, make an effort to go outside and be outdoor more often. Take some time to do outdoor activities or gardening in your backyard. Your body will thank you for it.

Maintain emotional wellbeing and happiness

Have you noticed that happy people tend to be healthy? And in the same way, healthy people tend to be happy? The two seem to have an interchangeable chicken and egg relationship. The relationship between happiness and health is not woowoo science. It is a subject of genuine researches by the scientific community for decades.

Believe it or not, emotions play a big part in the formation of disease. A study from Israel (25) suggests negative emotions are involved in the initiation or progression of many disease states such as cancer, HIV, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. In contrast, positive emotional and psychological responses increase the secretion of the antibody immunoglobulin A (26) and a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol (27).

Similarly, in another study (28), negative mental states such as stress and loneliness reduce our ability to fight disease. Studies going back from 1980s and 90s suggest direct wiring between the brain and the immune system. For example, crosstalk exists between the nervous system and immune-related organs such as the thymus and bone marrow.

Whenever fear and worry rear their ugly heads, remember the Serenity Prayer: Accept the things that cannot be changed, have the courage to change the things that can, and have the wisdom to know the difference. So why worry? Just be happy.

Social support

Last but not least. Perhaps one of the quintessential factors of good health and immune system which the majority of people overlooked is Social support.

A psychiatric study from Yale University from 2007 (29) shows having a supportive close social circle is essential for maintaining physical and psychological health. Similarly, having social support can mitigate genetic and environmental vulnerabilities and bestow resilience to stress. The study also shows a prolonged state of stress decrease the immune activity, may cause hypertension, dyslipidemia, and osteoporosis.

In the same way, the Blue zone study (30) of one of the longest living cultures in the world, the Okinawan, have a supportive social network throughout their lives. Many Okinawan elderlies have social support groups that start in childhood and extend into the 100s. In short, having a close social support group is one of the main recipes for a healthy long-living.

Sadly, in our busy modern lifestyle, very few people have adequate social support either from friends or family. Many people are leading a solitary lifestyle devoid of physical human to human connections.

If you are one of those people who suffer loneliness, try to engage people more often, make new friends whenever an opportunity presents, contact old friends, establish friendships with acquaintances and nurture friendship with your current friends.

In conclusion

Living a happy life, having a positive outlook and possessing close social support goes beyond just enhancing the immune system. They are critical factors in a long healthy life.

Make sure that you check out diet and nutrition tips to boost your immune system.

Don’t be discouraged if you fall short in one or two or all of the above points. Pick a point to start with and work on it. Start making positive changes in your life, make a plan for the future, set a target and do it. I wish you happiness and wellness.

If you are prone to viral and bacterial infections, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email [email protected] for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

References

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/
(2) https://rupress.org/jem/article/216/3/517/120367/G-s-coupled-receptor-signaling-and-sleep-regulate
(3) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170127113010.htm
(4) https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Citation/1986/10000/To_the_Editor_in_Chief.18.aspx h
(5) https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4684-5344-7_102
(6) https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-0022969051&origin=inward&txGid=26d395d2862af3c3735952dd49d56077
(7) https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.1139/y88-230
(8) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3083.1988.tb02400.x
(9) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-3083.1989.tb01137.x
(10) https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/abstract/10.1055/s-2007-1024887
(11) https://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_Nieman/publication/20888836_Infectious_episodes_in_runners_before_and_after_the_LA_Marathon/links/54ada7730cf2828b29fcb17d/Infectious-episodes-in-runners-before-and-after-the-LA-Marathon.pdf
(12) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/220/4597/617
(13) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159111000079
(14) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159113005291
(15) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159118301223
(16) https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2005/01000/Immune_Response_to_a_30_Minute_Walk.11.aspx
(17) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877117315001842
(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6814300/
(19) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938416304292
(20) https://web.b.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=10775552&AN=102676599&h=rG%2fU%2fS02XnawmgJs%2fzaAhpJkE1cV2KRnKXhPN1logqYYn6nU%2bP4pfVAxaxMqElNpU4CuSPq1leyvIutYowEqgw%3d%3d&crl=c&resultNs=AdminWebAuth&resultLocal=ErrCrlNotAuth&crlhashurl=login.aspx%3fdirect%3dtrue%26profile%3dehost%26scope%3dsite%26authtype%3dcrawler%26jrnl%3d10775552%26AN%3d102676599
(21) https://www.naturalnews.com/048584_Toxic_Home_Syndrome_air_pollution_heart_disease.html
(22) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2920391/How-AIR-house-making-ill-drying-washing-using-gas-cooker-15-million-homes-affected-Toxic-Home-Syndrome-increases-risk-heart-disease-cancer.html
(23) https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/en/publications/mycotoxins-in-indoor-environments-determination-using-mass-spectrometry(007da6bd-c6c8-441e-900d-1f2fdd72e189).html
(24) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2117320/
(25) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1568997206000279
(26) https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/secretory-immunoglobulin
(27) https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/hydrocortisone
(28) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-happiness-boosts-the-immune-system/
(29) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2921311/
(30) https://www.bluezones.com/2018/08/moai-this-tradition-is-why-okinawan-people-live-longer-better/

 

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Nutritional Tips: Boosting the Immune System

Boosting your immune system naturally is easier than you think if you follow the simple nutritional tips outlined in this article.

 

lifestyle-immune

A healthy lifestyle is key to a strong immune system. Follow these simple tips to enhance your immunity.

Good night’s sleep

Sleep is something that every person does. And yet it is the one thing that most people never get enough. Study shows that a proper sleep pattern and circadian rhythm exert a strong regulatory influence on immune functions. It is a well-known fact that you tend to get sicker more often when you don’t get adequate sleep. A study from the University of Washington, USA, shows a prolonged sleep deprivation of fewer than 7 hours causes a marked reduction of antibody response against viruses.

Daily moderate exercise

Take a more sensible and moderate approach to exercise. 30 to 45 mins of brisk walking every morning will do you good. In contrast, an intense marathon runs for 2 hours straight is counter-productive. Moderation is key to enhancing the immune system.

Outdoor and fresh air

There are many reasons for being outdoors, apart from fresher air. Being outdoor exposes you with more sunlight, the much-needed component for the production of the immune-enhancing vitamin D. Furthermore, being indoor quite often exposes you with more household mould. Mould toxins in old buildings caused by dampness are much more prevalent than most people think.

Maintain emotional wellbeing and happiness

Believe it or not, emotions play a big part in the formation of disease. A study from Israel suggests negative emotions are involved in the initiation or progression of many disease states such as cancer, HIV, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. In contrast, positive emotional and psychological responses increase the secretion of the antibody immunoglobulin A and a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol.

Social support

The Blue zone study of one of the longest living cultures in the world, the Okinawan, have a supportive social network throughout their lives. Many Okinawan elderlies have social support groups that start in childhood and extend into the 100s. In short, having a close social support group is one of the main recipes for a healthy long-living.

If you are prone to viral and bacterial infections, please contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email [email protected] for an obligation free discussion.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.