How to Keep Your Immune System Ready Any Season
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of a properly functioning immune system. Taking measures to keep your immune system at its best allows your body to fight attacks.
Feeling unwell brings your busy life to a screeching halt. But unfortunately, most of us can’t quickly press pause on all of our responsibilities and activities until we’re feeling better again. That’s why it’s essential to support your immune system through your everyday lifestyle.
Your Immune System
The immune system consists of two main parts: the innate and the adaptive immune system. These two parts work together to protect you against outside invaders.
The Innate Immune System
The innate immune system provides a rapid response to potential threats. It consists of:
- Eye’s cornea
- Mucous membranes in the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary tracts
The innate immune system creates physical barriers in the body and is active from birth.
The Adaptive Immune System
The adaptive or acquired immune system creates antibodies to protect your body from specific invaders, called antigens. Antigens refer to anything that triggers the immune response.
The adaptive immune system develops antibodies after exposure to an invader. After the body’s first exposure to an antigen, the adaptive immune system’s new antibodies will recognize the invader and know how to fight it off faster.
How the Immune System Fights
The body is continually generating new cells, including the critical cells of the immune system. The cells of the immune system work together to target antigens. One of the first defenders in the immune response are white blood cells, also called leukocytes. Leukocytes work to detect intruders, then send out signals to launch an attack.
There are two different types of leukocytes: phagocytes and lymphocytes.
Phagocytes include dendritic cells, which show the antigen to other immune system cells, letting the body know there’s an invader. Macrophages are also phagocytes, which identify invaders and sterilize specific invaders.
Lymphocytes include natural killer (NK) cells, which limit the spread of invaders and work with other cells to gauge the proper level of the immune response. Other lymphocytes are B lymphocytes (B-cells) which create antibodies, and T lymphocytes (T-cells) which kill pathogens.
Each of the cells in the immune response plays a critical role in protecting and fighting attacks and regulating the level of aggression the body needs. Providing your body with a robust and healthy environment to build those cells ensures that it functions properly.
Supporting Your Immune System
While the inner workings of the immune system may seem complicated, supporting the immune system doesn’t have to be. Many of the keys to a high-functioning immune system involve taking care of your overall health.
Get High-Quality Sleep
Sleep allows our bodies to recharge, improving physical and mental functions. While everyone’s sleep needs vary, most of us need between six and eight hours a night. Poor sleep has been linked to suppressed immune function, explicitly hurting your immune system in three ways:
- Reducing the body’s production of NK cells
- Generating inflammatory cytokines, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disorders
- Reducing the production of antibodies
If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, try setting a regular bedtime routine to cue your body that it’s time for rest. For added sleep support, you can also try melatonin supplements.
Eat Healthy, Nutritious Foods
A poor diet can weaken the immune system, as our bodies need proper fuel to support our immune system cells. Fresh fruits and vegetables of various colors offer beneficial polyphenols and antioxidants that help the immune system.
In contrast, highly processed and fatty foods can cause an inflammatory response and insulin spikes, causing confusion and chaos in the immune system.
Maintaining a consistent exercise routine boosts your strength, endurance, and overall circulation, making it easier for your immune cells to travel throughout the body, fighting off invaders.
Additionally, exercise lowers the body’s production of stress hormones like cortisol. Stress hormones suppress the immune system as the body prioritizes its “fight or flight” response.
Exercise, meditation, yoga, breathwork, and journaling help lower stress levels. However, ongoing stress taxes the immune system, as the high cortisol levels of stress lower your resistance to fighting invaders. Stress is also linked to poor sleep and high blood pressure, aggravating the immune response.
Natural Immunity Aids
While we all know healthy eating, sleep, and exercise are essential to our overall health, we sometimes struggle with consistency. Maybe you’re up all night with a teething baby or traveling for work with limited food options. Make sure you give your immune system all of the support it needs to function correctly.
AHCC® uses a cultured extract of hybridized medicinal mushroom roots to produce a highly-studied and researched immune supplement. AHCC® supports some of the most critical elements of the immune system.*
AHCC® offers comprehensive aid to the immune system through various functions, explicitly aiding NK cell activity, cytokine production, T-cell and macrophage activity, and the activity and number of dendritic cells.*
Your immune function needs to work optimally in any season. However, spring can be exceptionally taxing for the immune system as the body manages its overreaction to a harmless substance, like pollen.
Once the immune system identifies a potential invader, it prioritizes fighting the invader over other antigens, even if that invader is harmless. Seasonally, the immune system needs all of the help available.
When protecting your health and the health of those around you, a healthy lifestyle is integral to supporting your immune system.
While nothing takes the place of a healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and stress relief, supplements like Quality of Life’s Kinoko® Gold and Platinum AHCC® offer continued support, even when life gets in the way of our health goals.*
No one wants to get sick. However, using a multi-faceted approach to supporting your immune system gives your body its best chance to stay healthy.