Understanding the Immune System: How Can You Keep it Balanced and Strong?
With the recent and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the immune system and how to take care of it has never been such a hot topic. You may be interested in ways to enhance your immune system to ward off any infections from the common cold to the novel viruses - or you may simply be wondering, what IS the immune system and how does it work?
Here, we aim to explain the immune system and provide tips on how to improve yours, or help out family and friends!
The human immune system works throughout the entire body and involves a variety of primary cells, tissues and organs. The majority of the immune system resides within the gut, beginning in the nasal and oral cavities. The immune system also acts throughout the body using the lymphatic system, which is a complex web winding around the major blood vessels of the body, constantly surveying for unknown invaders in the bloodstream or other tissues.
White blood cells are a major player in the immune system. These are immune cells responsible for catching and attacking pathogens. You may have heard the term "antibodies" - these are made by specialized immune-system cells known as B cells. B cells make proteins called antibodies designed to recognize and fight viruses and bacteria.
It's important to keep the immune system in balance. An under-active immune system makes an individual more susceptible to infections from viruses, bacteria, and fungal and parasitic pathogens. It also means someone may struggle to fight off an initial infection and remain sick for longer. On the other hand, an overactive immune system can lead to increased inflammation even in the absence of ongoing infection and can also lead to chronic autoimmune conditions. You may know someone who takes "immune suppressing" drugs such as steroids or biologics for a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease - conditions labeled as "autoimmune" which is when the immune system attacks our body tissues. In general we want a BALANCED immune system, not under-active or hyperactive as both these states can lead to disease.
How can you balance your immune system and keep it strong? Follow these tips!
The immune system requires many nutrients to function including:
- Vitamin A
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
A plant-based Mediterranean-style diet has been shown in studies to be very beneficial to overall health and to improve a variety of conditions. Eating six or seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day goes a long way to getting nutrients into your diet. Sperri contains all the essential vitamins and minerals required by the body for optimal function.
2. Avoid Toxins
Eat organic as much as possible to avoid exposure to gut- damaging pesticides and other chemicals. Invest in a water filter and avoid chemical-laden cleaners and self-care products—look for natural ingredients in the products you use. Sperri is formulated with all organic ingredients.
3. Reduce Stress
While it can be hard to avoid all sources of stress, from work to family obligations to living during a global pandemic, there are many techniques you can adopt to mitigate stress such as yoga, stretching, meditation or breath-work practices. Techniques as simple as writing or saying out loud three things you are grateful for daily helps reduce stress and lower the "stress hormone" cortisol.
4. Get Adequate Sleep
During sleep the body regains strength, flushes toxins and repairs itself. Without adequate sleep the immune system cannot maintain optimal function. Aim for seven to eight hours a night.
Thirty to forty-five minutes’ moderate daily exercise will help detoxify the lungs, strengthen your heart and increase blood and lymphatic circulation, which are all important to a strong, functioning immune system.
6. Add Supplements as Needed
Without supplementation it can be difficult to obtain all the nutrients required for optimal function on a daily basis with the common foods available. If you are concerned about your intake of nutrients, speak with a healthcare provider to ensure you are following an appropriate diet and to learn which supplements you may need. Sperri contains all the essential macro- and micronutrients the human body needs. Including a meal replacement beverage in your diet can help you get what you need daily!
7. Vitamin D
Arguably this is the most important vitamin to immune function. Many people, especially in northern countries such as Canada, are deficient in this nutrient because Vitamin D is made from sun exposure, and is only found in small amounts in a few foods such as cod liver oil and some fortified dairy products. Vitamin D has many roles in cellular health as an anti-oxidant and anti-viral regulator. It regulates hundreds of genetic on-and-off switches for the protection and repair of cells. Vitamin D can help protect against cancer at the cellular level, as well as play a major role in the repair of damaged cells as part of cancer treatment programs. It is also vital to the development of healthy bones and teeth. High levels in the blood can also strengthen our ability to fight viral infections. Sperri is fortified with Vitamin D
Now you have some actionable tips on how to take care of your immune system! If you follow these tips it will go a long way toward preventing not only viral infections but also chronic diseases. These tips hold true if you are currently dealing with a health condition and need assistance with recovery.
The human immune system is a complex system but when you give it the nutrients and care it needs and remove toxins and stress, this supports you on a path to vibrant health!