Immune support can be a vital step in preventive healthcare, yet, many of the lifestyle decisions that people make actually work counter to proper immune function. Different stressors, poor nutritional choices, and lack of ample rest and activity can all contribute to a lowered immune response. This makes it vital that people find ways to reduce the negative impacts in their lives, as well as find ways to support more efficient function.
Eliminating the Negatives
While boosting the immune function can include supplementation, immune support also means making an effort to reduce the things that may be harming a healthy response. Some of the actions that are taken as coping mechanisms for daily routines could actually be impairing well-being, and it is important to be conscious of when this occurs.
• Avoiding socialization – many work schedules make it difficult to catch up with friends and loved ones, but this type of avoidance can actually lower immune response through depression.
• Over-extension – whether through work demands, family obligations, or the desire to try and decompress, many people also try to stay awake for too many hours of the day. Lack of sleep has an extremely negative impact on the immune system.
• Worrying – excessive worrying leads to pessimistic thoughts which tell the brain to release chemicals that will slow down immune response.
• Avoiding confrontation – in many situations, people will suppress their emotions in order to avoid an argument. This type of behavior creates conflicting hormonal messages which also impact the immune function.
• Stress – this is perhaps the greatest immune suppressant for most people, since high adrenaline states lead to a condition where the immune system can no longer appropriately respond.
• Over sharing – in both work and home situations, there are many times when utensils and tools become communal. This can lead to an excessive transfer of germs which can tax the immune system in its response.
• Inactivity – over-reliance on time saving measures can also lead to a sluggish immune system.
• Peer pressure – even when friends are not forcing a person to do something unhealthy, their presence can still influence the outcome. This can include being in places with second hand smoke, succumbing to one more drink, and other activities that can be questionable.
Of course, simply being aware of circumstances that can negatively affect the immune system is only the first step to making changes that can be beneficial. However, taking note of these situations can also be illuminating in terms of realizing why issues with fatigue and illness may be becoming chronic.
Taking Proper Action
While some of the best ways to boost your immune system include taking a positive action that corrects the negative behaviors, there are also supplementary actions that can ensure better function. These also center around lifestyle changes, but can often be easily incorporated into everyday routines.
• Adopt health living strategies – this will include addressing the negative aspects and taking care that there is a balance in social and work life, as well as good habits for sleeping and eating.
• Proper diet and nutrition – although people will need a different ratio of nutrients at different life stages, paying attention to this balance can ensure immune support. Along with good eating, the addition of specific nutrients to the diet can also boost function.
• Stress reduction tactics – regardless of whether this is exercise of meditation, stress reduction is highly connected to improved immune function. Finding a proper outlet for these emotions can be highly beneficial to immune support.
Herbs and Minerals
Although whole foods in the diet should supply sufficient nutrients for good immune function, this is not always the cases. Differences in selection and availability, as well as the soil conditions for produce can lead to significant variation in nutrients. For this reason, supplementation with the following can also be an effective way to boost the immune system.
• Selenium – this mineral has been shown to have a significant impact on immune response to cancer and pre-cancer cells.
• Vitamin A – this nutrient is necessary for the production of T cells, B cells, and cytokines, which are the action and messenger cells for immune function.
• Vitamin B12 – this is particularly important in immune response to bacterial infections and can boost resistance to certain microbes.
• Vitamin B6 – as an energy source, this nutrient aids in the longevity and strength of the T and B cells.
• Vitamin C – while this nutrient may not directly affect the immune system, it does aid in the reduction of free radicals in the body, and it is also affective in dissolving certain bacterial walls. This makes it an adjunct to actual immune response, although it is still indirectly beneficial.
• Vitamin D – while the mood enhancing effects of this nutrient also aid in a boosted immune system, this vitamin also works somewhat indirectly. Vitamin D encourages the skin to produce antimicrobial agents, and this can reduce the occurrence of infection.
• Zinc – this mineral also supports the longevity and production of T and B cells, while also blocking receptor points for viral infection into the body’s cells.
• Aloe Vera – this herb indirectly helps immune response by encouraging detoxification and elimination. This allows the body to function more effectively overall.
• Echinacea – active principles in this plant stimulate the production of antibodies, however, it should only be used when immune response is lowered, and not as a regular tonic.
• Garlic – the immune boosting powers of this plant are mostly from its high selenium content, although a considerable number of anti-bacterial active principles are also present in the plant.
• Probiotics – nutrients for the body and the immune system are processed through the gut, so proper digestive health has been shown to greatly benefit a healthy response. Probiotics also cultivate other immune system helpers that can eliminate some of the microbial threats.
• Licorice root – this plant balances the blood sugar so that nutrients can be properly absorbed and utilized. In this way, it supports the production of T and B cells, and it also ensures that all body systems are nourished.