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How can you improve your immune system? Overall, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? In order for our immune system (which is a complex system, not a single entity) to function well, it requires balance and harmony.

In this article we will share some helpful ways to strengthen your immune system and fight off diseases. A few lifestyle changes and new habits can naturally keep your immune system strong and healthy:

1. Take steps to avoid infection by practicing Good Hygiene, such as:-
2. Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthful, balanced diet can improve a person’s overall well-being.

For people with a weak immune system, doctors generally recommend a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruit, which will provide plenty of nutrients.

If a person is very immunocompromised, for example, because they are undergoing cancer treatment, a doctor may recommend that they take extra steps to avoid foodborne illnesses.

These may include:

3. Try to minimize stress as Stress damages your Immune System

Stress has a significant effect on your immune system. During stress, a series of events release cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones from the adrenal gland. Together they help your body cope with stress. Normally, cortisol is helpful because it decreases the inflammation in the body that results from the immune responses caused by stress.

But if a person is chronically stressed, stress hormones can affect the way the body functions over time. This increases your risk of health problems, including:

4. Get enough sleep

You do not need a reason to get a good night’s sleep, but now you have one – It Keeps you HEALTHY! According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation has a similar effect on the body’s immune system as stress. Lack of sleep disrupts the normal production of white blood cells, a crucial component of the body’s immune system.

According to the CDC, adults should aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per day, while infants and children need between 8 and 17 hours of sleep depending on their age.

4. Exercise regularly (and maintain a Healthy weight)

Your body will be able to fight sickness a lot better if it is strong and healthy. Regular exercise keeps the body healthy. In addition to strengthening the body, exercise causes the body to release endorphins that reduce stress levels. However, those with weak immune systems should be careful not to push themselves too hard as this can weaken the immune system further.

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

5. Drink lots of water

Your body just functions better with water. Fill a big jug in the morning and drink it all. Alternatively, instead of just drinking normal water, consume at least 500ml or better still 1 liter of Hydrogen rich water daily for your overall health and wellness.

Ref: https://www.oatext.com/pdf/JTS-6-380.pdf

6. Be nice to your liver

Your liver does so much for you, so take care of it, especially during cold and flu months.

7. Get Some Sunshine

Your immune system is the key to good health, so the more you can do to protect it, the better.

Let’s look at the foods that can help boost your Immune System in the next blog.

Because the immune system is so complex, there are many potential ways in which it can go wrong.

The types of immune disorders can fall into these three categories:

  1. Immunodeficiencies
  2. Autoimmunity
  3. Hypersensitivity

Immunodeficiencies

These arise when one or more parts of the immune system do not function. Immunodeficiencies can be caused in a number of ways, including age, obesity, and alcoholism. In developing countries, malnutrition is a common cause. AIDS is an example of an acquired immunodeficiency.

In some cases, immunodeficiencies can be inherited, for instance, in chronic granulomatous disease where phagocytes do not function properly.

Autoimmunity

In autoimmune conditions, the immune system mistakenly targets healthy cells, rather than foreign pathogens or faulty cells. In this scenario, they cannot distinguish self from non-self.

Autoimmune disorders are when the body mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, resulting in diseases. This is what occurs in people with autoimmune diseases such as:

  1. Multiple sclerosis  
  2. Lupus
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Psoriasis
  5. Celiac Disease, Type 1 diabetes and Graves’ disease

Hypersensitivity

With hypersensitivity, the immune system overreacts in a way that damages healthy tissue. An example is anaphylactic shock where the body responds to an allergen so strongly that it can be life-threatening.

Anaphylaxis happens when the body reacts to a foreign substance as if it were a serious threat to health. The most common triggers for these reactions are medications, foods, and insect stings. In its reaction to an allergen, the body produces large amounts of histamine — a signaling molecule that can trigger an inflammatory response. This response can lead to: 

Source: Allergyhome.org

In a person experiencing anaphylaxis, the airways often become narrow, making breathing difficult. In addition, the blood vessels may leak, causing edema, a type of swelling that results from the accumulation of fluid.

Signs of a weak Immune System

Most of the time, the immune system protects the body from infection. However, some people have a weak immune system that may make them prone to frequent infections. Here are some signs you might be having a weak Immune System:-

1. Susceptibility to infection.

A person with a weak immune system is likely to get infections more frequently than most other people. Infections that people with a weak immune system often get include: Pneumonia /  Meningitis  / Bronchitis  /  Skin Infections

2. You Always Have a Cold

It is perfectly normal for adults to sneeze and sniffle through two or three colds each year. Most people bounce back in seven to 10 days. During that time, it takes the immune system three to four days to develop antibodies and fight off pesky germs. But if you are constantly catching colds – or have a cold that would not run its course – that is a clear sign your immune system is struggling to keep up.

3. You feel constantly feel tired or fatigued

If you are getting enough sleep and still suffering from exhaustion, it is worth considering if your immune system is trying to tell you something. When your immune system struggles, so does your energy level. “That's because your body is trying to conserve energy to fuel your immune system so it can fight off germs,”

4. Your Stress Level is Sky-High

According to a report by the American Psychological Association, long-term stress weakens the responses of your immune system. “That’s because stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help fight off infection. The lower your lymphocyte levels, the more you’re at risk for viruses like the common cold,” explains Nadia Hasan, DO, a physician at Delancey Internal Medicine.

5. Your Wounds Are Slow to Heal

Your skin goes into damage control mode after you get a burn, cut or scrape. Your body works to protect the wound by sending nutrient-rich blood to the injury to help regenerate new skin. This healing process depends on healthy immune cells. But if your immune system is sluggish, your skin cannot regenerate. Instead, your wounds linger and have a hard time healing.

6. You Have Lots of Tummy Troubles

If you have frequent diarrhea, gas or constipation, it could be a sign that your immune system is compromised. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live there defend your gut from infection and support the immune system. Low amounts of these helpful gut bacteria can leave you at risk to viruses, chronic inflammation and even autoimmune disorders.

7. The other symptoms of a weak immune system can include the following:

Let’s look at the various ways to boost your Immune System in the next blog.

Our immune system is incredibly complicated and essential for our survival. Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy as we drift through a sea of pathogens.

Our immune system is our body’s version of the military - sworn to defend against all who threaten it, both foreign and domestic. Everyone’s immune system is different but, generally, it becomes stronger during adulthood as, by this time, we have been exposed to more pathogens and developed more immunity.

Our immune system protects against disease, infection, and helps us recover after an injury. Several different systems and cell types work in perfect synchrony (most of the time) throughout the body to fight off pathogens and clear up dead cells. It has some interesting soldiers that help make this possible.

Our immune system is a complex fighting system powered by five (5) liters of blood and lymph. Lymph is a clear and colorless liquid that passes throughout the tissues of the body. Together, these two fluids transport all the elements of the immune system so they can do their jobs.

White blood cells charge into battle at any sign of trouble. There are two different types of white blood cells: phagocytes and lymphocytes.

In humans, the blood–brain barrier, blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier, and similar fluid–brain barriers separate the peripheral immune system from the neuroimmune system, which protects the brain.

These brave soldiers only live up to a few weeks, so it’s a good thing there’s a lot of them — a single drop of blood can contain up to 25,000 white blood cells.

How an Immune Response works?

The immune system needs to be able to tell self from non-self. It does this by detecting proteins that are found on the surface of all cells. It learns to ignore its own or self proteins at an early stage.

An antigen is any substance that can spark an immune response. In many cases, an antigen is a bacterium, fungus, virus, toxin, or foreign body. But it can also be one of our own cells that is faulty or dead. Initially, a range of cell types works together to recognize the antigen as an invader.

Your body creates new antibodies whenever it is infected with a new antigen. If the same antigen infects you a second time, your body can quickly make copies of the corresponding antibody to destroy it.

Once an antibody has been produced, a copy remains in the body so that if the same antigen appears again, it can be dealt with more quickly. That is why with some diseases, such as chickenpox, you only get it once as the body has a chickenpox antibody stored, ready and waiting to destroy it next time it arrives. This is called Immunity.

What is Immunity?

Immunity is the body’s defense system against infection and disease. White blood cells play a key role. Some rush to attack any harmful microbes that invade the body. Other white blood cells become specialists, adapted to fight particular pathogens. All of them work to keep the body as healthy as possible.

There are three types of immunity in humans called innate, adaptive, and passive:

i.) Innate immunity

We are all born with some level of immunity to invaders. Both Human and many animals immune systems, will attack foreign invaders from day one. This innate immunity includes the external barriers of our body — the first line of defence against pathogens — such as the skin and mucous membranes of the throat and gut.

This response provides Fast and General defence. If the pathogen manages to dodge the innate immune system, adaptive or acquired immunity kicks in.

ii.) Adaptive (acquired) immunity

This is a Complex and Targeted Response to Pathogens. This protection to pathogens develops as we go through life. As we are exposed to diseases or get vaccinated, we build up a library of antibodies to different pathogens. This is sometimes referred to as immunological memory because our immune system remembers previous enemies.

iii.) Passive immunity

This type of immunity is “borrowed” from another source, but it does not last indefinitely. For instance, a baby receives antibodies from the mother through the placenta before birth and in breast milk following birth. This passive immunity protects the baby from some infections during the early years of their life.

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