Immune health is one of the most popularly discussed terms in today’s society. Especially with disease becoming more prevalent via the pandemic, there has been a renewed interest in learning how our immune system works and how to care for and strengthen it so we can be the best version of ourselves each day.
While the immune system is nothing new in and of itself, more research and studies surrounding it comes out every year making it necessary to stay as up-to-date as possible on the science behind immune health. In this blog, we will dive in to learn more about establishing better immunity to protect ourselves and better serve our bodies.
Laying the Foundation and Defining Health
Before getting too far into discussing immunity, it is best to start with what we believe health to be. With all the mass messaging individuals are exposed to via ads and media outlets each day, it can significantly muddle the issue of defining what health is.
On a rudimentary level, it is important to note that health is considered to be a highly individual thing. In other words, the individual themselves should be able to easily notice when they are feeling particularly sluggish or not well.
What an individual may have a harder time discerning since they are so close to the issue is the origin of these feelings. As a whole, health is usually considered to be a combination of factors such as attitude as well as mental, emotional, and physical health.
- Attitude may be addressed by focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude and can help set the tone for the body
- Mental and emotional health can be addressed by getting enough sleep and exercising regularly to help the immune system be stronger
- Physical health may be addressed by eating well or practicing good hygiene and can help the body better fight off bacteria, viruses, mold, and other harmful contaminants
Micronutrients and the Immune System
The immune system is multifaceted, with the majority of it dealing with the gut. The colon itself is estimated to weigh roughly two and a half pounds, and the entire gastrointestinal tract is thought to contain between sixty and seventy percent of a person’s immune system.
The building blocks of the immune system are vitamins and nutrients and the proper absorption of them. The body is designed to intuitively recognize which nutrients it needs. This means that although an individual may intake a great variety of nutrients, the body will choose which ones it needs and absorb them through the gastrointestinal tract, or via breathing in the case of oxygen, and then get them to the areas where they are needed. The body takes what it needs and filters out the rest.
Dr. Bruce Ames’ theory of aging indicates that if a body has limited micronutrients, it will triage them for the more immediate needs of staying alive and functioning. In other words, the body will dedicate the micronutrients present to help the heart continue to beat at the expense of a different process, such as DNA or RNA replication.
For individuals who have a medical condition such as a colostomy that could significantly impact the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body, they may require the supplementation of specific nutrients and vitamins to reach more normal levels within the body.
Supporting Your Immune System
When it comes to getting the right nutrients in your body to better support its immune health, it is usually recommended to get those nutrients through a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, organ meats, and proteins that come from both plants and animals. The proteins are then broken down into vital amino acids that may help regulate the body’s immune response.
A person who is suffering from disease or a form of over-exposure to environmental contaminants may need even greater support for their immune system. There are two primary lines of defense in this area:
- The stomach – The acid in the stomach can assist with killing bacteria, viruses, and mold.
- The skeletal system – Modern research is highlighting the importance of a strong skeletal system in maintaining a better immune system. Some of these studies suggest that the vascular system in the bones delivers nutrients to the bone marrow. In the bone marrow, immune and stem cells are created, and the vascular system helps them to quickly exit and then go to the area where they are most needed.
Take Care of Your Skeletal System and Bone Health
The findings of new research on the importance of skeletal health to the immune system, it has individuals wondering the best way to support their bones. The best way to do this can be through a varied diet heavy in vegetables, fruits, and various proteins.
However, two important nutrients that aren’t as readily available in some foods are Vitamins D3 and K2. Both of these nutrients are thought to be supportive of the vascular system that can provide a robust bone structure, which consists of bones that are constantly rebuilding themselves instead of becoming too spongey or brittle.
Protecting Your Immune Health
By eating a diet rich in immune-supporting nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and more, it may help the body’s immune system function in a more robust manner. In instances in which the body is unable to obtain or absorb these nutrients through diet alone, supplements may be needed.
Another excellent way to help protect your immune health is by minimizing your stress levels. While stress may not cause immune health problems, it can exacerbate them. There are things individuals can do in some cases to limit their stress levels, although this can look different from one person to the next. For some people it may be as simple as turning off the evening news, while for others it may look like meditation. The important thing is to find a healthy method that works best for you.
Our immune systems are under fire in today’s world as perhaps never before, with increased stress and unvaried and subpar diets absent of proper nutrients the body needs to best support immune health. Take back control of your immune health and live your best