How to Boost your Immune System
Does the current pandemic and fast approaching (Australian) flu season have you thinking about your immune system?
Read on to find out more about your immune system and what you can do to support it.
Immune system 101
Our immune system is what protects us against infectious agents and other microorganisms that can cause us harm.
The immune system is made up of many different components including:
Bone marrow – is the soft tissue found inside long bones, such as your femur, that produces red and white blood cells, some of which help with immune function.
White blood cells – attack and remove foreign bodies and pathogens.
Lymphatic system – a network made up of vessels and lymph nodes which help in filtering lymph from throughout the body, trapping pathogens and bacteria in the lymph nodes.
The tonsils and thymus – produce antibodies which combat foreign invaders in the body.
The spleen – filters the blood by excreting old and damaged blood cells and platelets
When a microorganism or pathogen enters our body, we have what we call an innate immune response. This is an immediate, nonspecific response and is generally responsible for symptoms like fever and generalised discomfort.
The second line of defense is called the adaptive immune response. It is more complex and involves the body creating a specific immune response for the invading pathogen. It provides long term immunity, which makes future responses, against that particular pathogen, quicker and more efficient.
DIY immune booster
While the immune system is fairly autonomous in nature, there are ways that we can support it.
The link between sleep and immunity has been well established and not having enough sleep is linked to an increase in susceptibility to illness. Having adequate rest allows the body to strengthen its natural immunity. Adults should aim for 7-8 hrs of sleep every night. If you are struggling to fall asleep, try implementing a sleep routine, which should include reducing screen time and caffeine before bed, and creating an environment which encourages your body (and mind) to relax.
Eating a healthy balanced diet can help provide your body with the nutrients (aka ‘building blocks’) it needs to adequately fuel, maintain and repair your body. Specifically, antioxidants, may help in decreasing free radicals within the body, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation. Healthy fats, such as the omega-3 found in salmon or avocados, also have anti-inflammatory properties and aid in reducing the demand placed on the immune system.
Engaging in exercise helps with supporting mental wellbeing, stimulates the lymphatic system, reduces inflammation within the body and can help to strengthen your immune system. If you are already feeling mildly ill, high intensity exercise is not recommended, however a moderate level of exercise is encouraged (please speak to your GP if concerned).
Stress is a normal part of life, however, long-term, consistent stress can have detrimental effects on our body. When we are stressed for extended periods of time, the hormone cortisol is released, this increases the level of inflammation in the body, eventually resulting in suppression of the immune system. Meditation, exercise and mindfulness techniques can help manage stress levels and support the immune system.
If you want to learn more about stress and how it may be affecting you, click here to check out our blog on stress and how to reduce it!
Supplements can help to provide a boost to your immune system and should be used in conjunction with a balanced diet. Armaforce, from Bioceuticals, is a fan favourite at Retrain Health. It is a great all-rounder for boosting immunity and reducing the severity of the common cold or mild upper respiratory tract infections (such as a sore throat). If you feel that you need help supporting your immune system, talk to your pharmacist or doctor about whether using a supplement is right for you.
In our ongoing efforts to continue to provide quality care, Retrain Health has set up a portal so that our wonderful patients can continue to access Bioceuticals. You can order from the comfort of your own home and Bioceuticals will deliver directly to you. Click here to place your order today.
Retrain Health is based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. From our Byron Bay and Ballina clinics, our team provides a range of quality healthcare services and products.
Retrain Health offers osteopathy, remedial massage and strength and conditioning sessions with qualified practitioners.
If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an appointment, please contact the clinic by phone (02) 6680 7447, send us an email or click here to book an appointment online.