The strength of the immune system is directly influenced by lifestyle habits. When one eats well, avoids tobacco products, and gets sufficient sleep, the immune system is strengthened. On the other hand, if one is chronically stressed, suffers from lack of sleep and seldom eats fruits and vegetables, the immune system may not operate at an optimal level. The fact that our environment teems with bacteria and viruses, yet we remain reasonably healthy the majority of the time, may give you some idea of how hard our immune systems work to keep us from succumbing to illness or disease. Essential to survival, the immune system is a bit like a surveillance system, constantly seeking out and protecting us from harmful substances. As long as the system is running smoothly, we rarely think about how effective and amazing this complicated system of organs, cells, and antibodies actually is.
When the immune system is weakened or compromised, we are left vulnerable to attack by foreign invaders and pathogens. Conversely, when the immune system is strong enough to defend against attack and is able to initiate repair, the healthier we are or the faster our recovery if we do get sick. The key to a healthy immune system lies in its extraordinary ability to recognize the body’s own cells from foreign cells, peacefully existing until called to action. In abnormal situations, the body can mistake its own cells for antigens and launch an attack. This can result in the development of an autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or celiac disease. Common allergies occur when the immune system falsely responds to a normally harmless material such as pollen or dust. More often, the immune system stockpiles a huge arsenal of cells that work cooperatively to seek out and destroy highly specific targets, often leaving sentries behind, building immunity and guarding against future antigen attacks.
To keep your immune system strong and healthy adopt a healthy lifestyle as a first line of defense:
- Consider a probiotic supplement. As 80% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract, maintaining a healthy gut is imperative for optimal health. Most of the approximately 500 microflora species that live in the gastrointestinal tract are beneficial, aiding digestion and nutrient absorption. Some are harmful and wreak havoc with digestion, encouraging inflammation while lying in wait for an opportunity to flourish. The ratio between beneficial and deleterious bacteria is a critical factor in determining overall health. Probiotic supplements and health enhancing, fermented probiotic foods replenish and promote proliferation of beneficial microorganisms supporting intestinal, immune and overall health.
- Eliminate toxic food from your diet. The innumerable chemicals, preservatives, artificial and unnatural substances found in processed and commercial foods can irritate the gut lining and cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria. When it comes to immunity and gut health, it’s equally important to avoid feeding bad bacteria as it is to fertilize good bacteria. Avoid added sugars, starches and refined carbs that provide fodder for bad bacteria to flourish, and focus on whole, fresh, real food to promote the growth of good bacteria. Eat a largely plant based diet that provides soluble and insoluble fiber and good quality proteins to encourage a healthy microbiome.
- Physiological stress raises vulnerability to illness. Short term stress brought on by an emergency or a dangerous situation results in a natural, helpful physiological response. However, stress for that lasts for days on end, negatively effects immune health. Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends signals to the endocrine system, which then releases a cascade of hormones that get us ready for emergency situations, while at the same time severely depressing immunity.
- Sleep deprivation’s effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress. Sleep and the circadian system exert a strong regulatory influence on immune function. Prolonged sleep loss and the accompanying stress response evoke the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, resulting in low-grade inflammation and immunodeficiency, which have detrimental effects on health.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other fine products to support immune and overall health:
Pro-Flora™ Immune Probiotic Pearls™ – This unique, dual action probiotic formula is designed to strengthen and support the digestive tract and the immune system. Sugar, wheat and yeast free formulation.
Probiotic IMM by Pure Encapsulations – This blend of 5 probiotic strains provides a shelf stable formula to support immune function and maintain eye, nose and throat health. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.
Broad Spectrum Probiotic & Prebiotic by Prescript-Assist™ – This broad-spectrum formula delivers a proprietary blend of 29 separate strains of beneficial microflora to help support optimal gut and immune health and a normal balance of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. This formula promotes a healthy gastrointestinal environment, relives occasional abdominal discomfort, promotes regularity, and supports overall wellness and vitality. Gluten and dairy free, vegan formulation.
NuSera® by Metagenics – This science-based, clinically effective formula provides relief and promotes calmness during stressful moments. Designed with natural ingredients to promote a healthy stress response and provide a safe approach to strategic short-term stress. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.
Insomnitol™ by Designs for Health – This blend of botanicals, nutrients, and neurotransmitter precursors provides nutritional support for calm brain activity and helps to promote the natural ability to support quality, restful sleep. Gluten, soy and dairy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
How does the immune system work? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072548/
Understanding the Immune System. http://www.imgt.org/IMGTeducation/Tutorials/ImmuneSystem/UK/the_immune_system.pdf
Probiotics helps as 80% of Immune System in your GI Tract. http://instituteofhealthsciences.com/probiotics-help-immune-system-in-your-gi-tract/
Sleep and immune function. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/
How Stress Affects the Immune System. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system