Amid the global coronavirus crisis, people start taking appropriate precautions to protect themselves and those around them. We are now aware that to prevent the spread of the decease, we need to follow rather easy recommendations like washing hands more often, keeping social distancing, not touching mouth or eyes, staying home if feel unwell, etc.

It all seems to be working fine though, but how can we beat the virus instead? In other words, can we boost immune system and successfully combat all kind of invading germs? What if we take herbal supplements or vitamins? Can lifestyle changes help produce a perfect immune response? Let’s break these questions down together.

What Can We Do to Improve Immune System?

While supporting immune health is easier said than done, certain lifestyle changes may indeed help us get immunity pumped to fight off bacteria and antibodies. However, we have to bear in mind that immune system is our natural defense, and to function properly, people need to maintain balance and harmony. Healthy living involves more than just physical health, it also requires mental and emotional stability.

Healthy Tips to Improve Immunity

General good-health strategies may serve as first line of defense as well as a perfect way to keep immune system in top shape. Worth saying that immunity is not a single entity and it bolsters every part of our body. Here’s a few steps to strengthen it naturally.

  • Quit smoking
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Exercise at moderate intensity
  • Keep a healthy body weight
  • Relieve stress and anxiety

False Claims

When in comes to claims about the ability to protect ourselves against the viruses like the Covid-19, we all turn into supplements or herbal preparations. Unfortunately, these assertions are false and the concept of improving immune system looks a little bit more complex.

First off, there is no evidence to back the use of any supplement to help fight off the Covid-19 virus. However, there are many natural supplements that aim to strengthen your immunity: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, B complex vitamins, Mushrooms, Astragalus, Elderberry and many more.

Worth to flag that increasing the number of immune cells in our body isn’t always a good thing. Imagine athletes who boost the number of red blood cells into the bloodstream to perform better. They put their health at risk, causing heart attack.

Whether this ‘hard’ boost in the cells explains such consequences or whether other factors have an impact is not fully understood. What is recommended though, is to make sure that our natural defense functions at its optimum level.

How Aging Affects Immune System?

As age advances, the immune system undergoes profound decline, which in turn causes more infections and deceases. Developed countries have reported an increase in life expectancy recently, so have the age-associated illnesses.

Many studies have concluded, that elderly people are more prone to get contaminated by viral deceases as opposed to younger population. Infections in the lung, flus, coronavirus and pneumonia are sadly being named the leading causes of death in senior people all over the world now.

Scientists have announced that although there is no real evidence as to why this is happening, but it may correlate with decreased levels of T cells, which are pivotal in immunity and immunopathology. The thymus deteriorates and, by age 65+, people are no longer able to produce new T cells – hence least natural defense remains against infections.

Nutritional Intervention

It also appears that the elderly show a reduction in vaccination longevity, which in turn contributes to a diminished antibody response. The analysis has revealed that for seniors aged 65 years and older, the vaccination becomes less effective but still reduces the sickness rates compared to older adults without any vaccinations whatsoever.

Since aging is associated with declined immune health, the nutritional intervention may be a breath of fresh air to altering the immunity and reducing the risk of infections. Nutrition per se is a cost-effective approach to beat immunosenescence and age-related impairment.

There is some evidence that suggests that having nutrient intakes above the recommended level has a positive impact on the immune function and lowers the incident of contagion in the older adults. It’s important to note that the elderly tend to consume less food and lose the urge to drink.

Their bodies require very limited dietary variety, and it also gets harder for them to maintain the adequate levels of water. It’s highly recommended that older adults drink fluids at regular intervals as well as use dietary supplements to strengthen immune system.

Natural Supplements For Immune Health

A healthy immune system is dependant on good and regular nutrition. Needless to say that those who live in extreme poverty are exposed to malnourishment and vulnerability to infection. Some studies, such as those on deteriorated thymus in the elderly, suggest that an optimal nutrition is essential to tackle immunological defects that come when your body ages.

As regards the dietary deficiency, some evidences show that both mineral and vitamin deficiencies (e.g. vitamin A, B6 and C, zinc, iron, etc.), especially in resource-poor areas with lack of iron, may lead to numerous infectious deceases. 

So the question is – can do you something with it? How can you make sure you’re fulfilling your micronutrient needs? Some people don’t like whole plant foods but need a daily multivitamin dosage,  which has benefits for the health. If that’s the case, then fermented foods or prebiotic supplements is a great alternative. Not only do they improve digestion but also help up the immunity. 

Using Herbal Remedies to Improve Immunity?

Most likely this year people are very keen on the cold and flu meds given the climate and growing concerns over the COVID-19 virus spread. The market is now saturated with a great variety of herbal remedies that claim to support immune system and let you live through crisis in full defense.

There are some preparations that are indeed helpful when it comes to improving components of the immunity. There are also very well-known remedies that aim to help ward off infections, such elderberry, coneflower, ginger, garlic and fire cider.

Effects of Stress on Immune System

Long-term stress has always been a harmful thing, both mentally and physically. On the other hand, immune function is being considered something protective or regulatory and prepares our body to handle challenges.

It’s important to recognize that stress is not something common for every person. The same situation that may appear stressful to one feels calm to another. Although it’s hard to find out the depth of stress level each individual has, chronic stress, in contrast, is a more dangerous feeling and can inhibit immune responses as well as increase predisposition to some types of inflammation by decreasing protective T cells.

Frequent stressors usually split into 2 groups: social stressing, caused by relationships, family changes, sexuality, social phobia, etc. and stress at work, caused by endless workload, urgent deadlines, billion of emails, and other factors.

So if you come down with something and stress lasts for months, please, do not ignore relaxation training  as it may help you keep immune system healthy and strong.

Can Being Cold Make Us Sick?

People tend to believe that cold weather and colds are linked between each other, but these claims are not usually correct. Moderately cold weather doesn’t seem to be a factor for increased susceptibility to infections.

However, there are indeed some viruses that appear during the winter months and cause us to catch a flu or a cold. In addition, the weather keeps us inside more and we may interact closely with those who are already sick. Humidity and home heating can also cause sticky mucus in the nose, which weakens the immune health.

Some evidence suggests that low humidity in house could contribute to the transmission of influenza. On the contrary, high humidity lowers it and destroys the virus particles after 15 min they were dropped off into the air.

Regular Exercise Benefits Immune System

Keeping fit, especially during the lockdown times, could really benefit our immunity. Regular exercise reduces chances of developing heart deceases and boosts cardiovascular system.

It also slows down the release of stress hormones and helps control healthy weight. There is no proven evidence to claim how exercise improves the immune health but like any healthy eating plan, it makes us feel healthier and more energetic.

So if you need an extra dosage of motivation while staying home – moderate-intensity work out is recommended.

Stay home and stay safe.

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References

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24798553

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

https://www.livescience.com/27533-flu-transmission-humidity.html

https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/ida/en/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320807/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3901832/