More Weight Loss Solutions

Strengthen your immune system with these health tips – Courier Journal

Aug 27th, 2022

Bryant Stamford| Special to the Courier Journal

The immune system is very complex, with many different types of immune cells, each with a specific function. There are two major components, beginning with the innate immune system, the one you are born with. Its primary function is to create a protective physical barrier for the body to keep invaders out. This includes skin, the cornea of the eye, mucous membrane linings, etc. If, however, an invader should sneak in, the innate immune system must recognize it as an invader and take action to destroy it.

The second component is the acquired immune system. Once you have been infected by an invader, the body takes steps to neutralize that specific invader in the future by creating antibodies that can recognize the invader quickly and defend against it. These antibodies stay in the body, ready for action. This is how immunization works. A weakened invader is introduced with a shot, stimulating the body to create antibodies against it.

Can you strengthen your immune system? The answer is yes. There is genetic influence, but how you live, and your environment also is important. This means we all respond to invaders in a very individualized way, which may help explain why some people live through a plague when surrounded by so many who succumb and die.

Although genetic influence is important, its always best to do all within your power to maximize your bodys defensive capabilities, starting with a healthy lifestyle. This is especially important as we age, given the decline in immune function after about the age of 60 and accelerating at age 70.

A theme I have preached over the years is that a key benefit of a healthy lifestyle is being able to cope more effectively with whatever harmful influence comes your way. You always want your immune system to be at the top of its game because you can never predict a nasty invasion. This entails providing the body with all the wholesome nutrients it needs, especially important vitamins and minerals, and this starts with a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables.

Next is a group of familiar, common sense, healthy lifestyle practices. Topping the list is getting adequate sleep every night which helps both the innate and acquired components of the immune system. Sleep allows the immune system to "rev up" and it also helps with immune memory, more quickly and easily recognizing invading enemies. In addition, don't smoke or drink alcohol to excess, maintain a healthy weight, be smart and wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, take steps to minimize stress, stay up to date with recommended vaccines, and, of course, avoid sick folks.

You may like:Psychological stress is damaging your body. Try these tips to find some stress relief

Two additional healthy lifestyle practices that help your immune system include regular exercise and intermittent fasting.

Research indicates that regular exercise can boost immunity strength. A recent study reported that two key immune cells that combat inflammation were significantly increased from regular exercise over a 10-week period. This is very important because the more we learn about chronic diseases like atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) the more obvious it is that inflammation plays a critical role.

In addition, those who exercise regularly tend to get fewer infections. Why? Exercise imposes stress on the body that promotes increased production of certain immune cells, like T cells which are particularly effective in detecting infected areas. In addition, exercise stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which initiates the "fight or flight" reaction. Stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine (adrenalin) are released, and they crank up the immune response by mobilizing immune cells throughout the body, particularly in the blood. This makes the body hypervigilant, increasing the probability that these protectors will come in contact with potential invaders and destroy them.

What kind of exercise is best? The science is still unfolding, and there has been controversy. Until recently, it has been recommended that moderate exercise is best because there is an immediate positive effect on the immune system. In contrast, some past research suggested that high-intensity exercise may suppress the immune system temporarily, making you more vulnerable to infection.

You may like:Face it, Americans are unhealthy. Try these 3 simple tips to help change your diet

However, the latest research is more sophisticated, and it does not support the temporary suppression of the immune system with heavy exercise. In other words, all exercise is helpful.

Recently, I have written quite a bit about intermittent fasting. One reason is that its an area that attracts a lot of attention and I have received a ton of emails about it. Another reason is my very positive personal experience, plus great results with several folks I have worked with.

Intermittent fasting helps the immune system. For example, encouraging research results were found in a study of cancer patients suffering from immune suppression as a result of cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy. Intermittent fasting was shown to help reboot the immune system by more quickly creating new and effective immune cells to replace those destroyed by cancer therapy.

The mild stress of fasting on the body (somewhat similar to the effects of exercise) forces increased production of immune cells. In addition, intermittent fasting helps the immune system by promoting the process of autophagy. This means clearing out old and dysfunctional cells, allowing room for them to be replaced by newly created, more robust cells. This has implications for all cells of the body, in general, but it's particularly helpful for the immune system.

You may likeIntermittent fasting vs. crash diets: What's the best diet for quick weight loss?

Let me add that not only does intermittent fasting directly help the immune system, it promotes overall health in two important ways which indirectly helps you cope with any bad actors that come along. One way is through effective weight management, making the process easier and more effective. And, two, intermittent fasting promotes increased human growth hormone (HGH) production. HGH helps to increase muscle mass while reducing body fat.

Reach Bryant Stamford, a professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology at Hanover College, at

See the rest here:
Strengthen your immune system with these health tips - Courier Journal

Related Posts

Contact One Of Our Consultants Today

Your Full Name
Your Email
Your Phone Number
Select your age (30+ only)
Confirm over 30 years old  Yes
Confirm that you are a US Citizen  Yes
This is a Serious Inquiry  Yes
Select A Program
Select Your US State
captcha Please Enter Code:

Comments are closed.
Weight Loss Solutions