Fall is a beautiful season, and as the weather changes and the holiday’s we all enjoy draw closer, so does something else that we’re not fond of; the cold and flu season.
You know the feeling when you get to work, and everyone is coughing or sneezing around you. You are probably thinking “Oh great, I’m going to catch this thing too”. We are exposed to bacteria and viruses every hour of the day, from the surfaces we touch in a grocery store, to people we encounter at work or throughout our day. And let’s not forget parents who are almost virtually guaranteed to get whatever cold or flu virus that the kids bring home from school.
We all lead busy lifestyles, and no one wants to miss time from work, school or family activities by being laid up in bed with a bad cold or the influenza virus. But there is one small healthy habit you can adopt every morning, to help your immune system ‘do it’s job’ and make it harder for a cold or flu to take hold.
Let’s talk a bit about some of the things that can burden your immune system and impair your ability to fight off infections and viruses.
7 Surprising Things That Weaken Your Immune System
An annual influenza vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organization and practitioners, but it doesn’t provide any protection against the common cold. And if your body has a compromised immune system, it may not protect you from new strains of influenza. Did you know that there are more than 144 subtypes of influenza? Your annual vaccination protects against an average of three every year.
Each day, your body is waging a silent war against bacteria and viruses. And for most people, it does a pretty good job of killing an invading bacteria or virus before it becomes a full-blown condition (with all the unpleasant symptoms). Most people don’t realize however, that these five basic things can significantly weaken their immune system, making them more prone to succumbing to the common cold and strains of the influenza virus.
Chronic stress is one of the biggest threats to your healthy immune system. Our bodies are designed to handle short bursts of stress, with a ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline response that our ancestors used to get out of predatory situations. What are bodies are not designed for however, is a persistent long-term state of adreno response. Think about it this way; our physiology isn’t engineered to run from a predator 24/7, but that is exactly the state we put ourselves in with unmanaged long-term stress.
When we are experiencing chronic stress, the brain starts producing more of a hormone called cortisol. That gives us energy for a short period of time, but at the cost of endurance. The cortisol hormone has a disabling effect on T-cells, making it harder to fight off invading bacterial or viruses.
In spite of what advertisers for vape products want to tell you nicotine is harmful no matter how you consume it. Whether you chew tobacco, or smoke cigarettes, a cigar, a pipe or a flavored vape, if it contains nicotine you are doing harm to your body in a variety of ways. And you are compromising your immune system. Nicotine also increases cortisol hormone levels and reduces the B-cell antibodies from forming. It also reduces the T-cell functioning, and those are the cells that ‘seek and destroy’ bacteria and viruses as part of the immune system. New studies have also suggested that the vapor in e-cigarettes contains heavy levels of free radicals that cause additional airway inflammation (exacerbating chest congestion from a cold or flu virus)
Bad news for people who follow a high-fat diet, like the Atkins or Keto diets; saturated fats impair the immune system just as much as excessive sodium (salt) and carbohydrates (sugar). When the body carries additional fat, it suppresses the ability to produce adequate numbers of T-cells for healthy immune functioning.
Celebrating with a drink or two on a special occasion isn’t much of a problem for your body. But did you know that even one single night of excessive drinking can significantly reduce your immune system performance? Alcohol contains acetaldehyde, which reduces the ciliary functions in your lungs (those are the small hair-like objects that help propel mucus out of the airways).
You’ve heard that taking a walk outside is good for you, because your body absorbs some essential vitamin D from the sun. That’s true. But did you know that too much UV radiation from the sun has the opposite effect?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that UV rays could also effect the cells that are responsible for triggering immune responses, and potentially increase the risk of infection, while decreasing the body’s natural defense against skin cancer.
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend sitting every day? From driving in your car, to sitting down for meals, behind a desk at the office or at home watching television, it all adds up to a significant health risk if you do not schedule at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. A sedentary lifestyle makes it harder for your body to remove toxins and reduces the ability to fight infections.
Burning the candle at both ends? Have you ever noticed that after a week or longer of poor or interrupted sleep, you may contract a cold or other infection? That’s because during sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. They help you sleep, but also provide a boost your immune system needs with infection fighting antibodies. Long-term sleep deprivation or chronic sleep disorders can also increase your risk of certain chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular issues.
When you go through the list of these seven threats to your immune system, you quickly realize how many of these factors are part of our every day lives. When you start to understand the challenges faced by your immune system, you can also notice some of the warning signs that your body needs a little help to restore and replenish with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you might not be getting from your diet every day.
Can Daily Vitamins Help Strengthen My Immune System?
With the exception of some health diagnoses, in most cases everyone can benefit from supplementing their diet with quality vitamins. Even if you think you are eating a healthy and balanced diet every day, chances are that you are functioning with less of those essential nutrients that your body needs to stage its best defense against bacterial and viral infections.
Did you know that a simple blood test ordered by your physician, can help identify your nutritional deficiencies? We recommend getting tested every year, so that you can provide supplemental nutritional to keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels.
RobKellerMD® is a trusted American manufacturer of quality nutritional supplements, formulated by Robert H. Keller, MD, MS, FACP, AAHIVS. Explore our antioxidant boosting Original Glutathione Formula® and our phyto-nutrient TCM daily multivitamin Advanced Immune Defense™. These two supplements from our brand were formulated to work together, to provide comprehensive nutritional and immune system benefits.
Create a healthy new habit every morning, by making RKMD vitamins part of your daily routine and power-up your immune system against the cold and flu season.