We can all agree that, when you are sick with a cold, you wish for nothing more than to feel better again. Your head is congested, your throat is sore, and you just cannot stop coughing and sneezing. Within a few days, though, your wish is granted, and you’re no longer sick, all thank to your immune system
We’re all grateful for our immune system when we’re sick, but did you know your immune system is working even when you don’t feel sick? It never gets to take a break, and a strong immune system is a crucial component in keeping you healthy and preventing you from getting sick in the first place. Let’s take a closer look at the immune system, how it works, and what you can do to strengthen it.
Many people underestimate just how wide-reaching the immune system is, and are surprised to learn about the many elements it takes to keep your body healthy. This is not an easy task, which is why the immune system relies on so many different areas, such as:
All of these parts of the body come together to protect you from the foreign invaders that cause illness, infection, and disease, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
Let’s take a closer look at the role some of these parts play:
The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. They contain immune cells that analyze foreign cells then send specific lymphocytes (white blood cells) to fight off the exact type of germ in the body.
Lymph nodes are located all over the body, including in your armpits, neck, and groin. When you go to the doctor sick, they will often check the lymph nodes in your neck, as swollen lymph nodes are a sign of your body fighting an infection.
The lymph nodes send out white blood cells, which search for, attack, and destroy foreign invaders. There are different types of white blood cells, with some types circulating in the bloodstream and others staying in one tissue.
As the largest organ in the body, your skin is your body’s first line of defense against foreign invaders. It secretes oil and other protective immune cells to keep harmful germs out of the body.
Your stomach acid kills a lot of the bacteria that do happen to enter your body very soon after they do. This helps to keep the bacteria from spreading throughout the body and causing infection.
Your immune system is able to detect which cells are yours and which are foreign to the body. Once it recognizes these germs, it then marks them as foreign, which activates other cells in the immune system to travel through the body to these foreign cells to attack and kill them.
The immune system is adaptive, meaning it learns from past infections. When you are exposed to a germ for the first time, the body produces and holds onto antibodies for that specific germ. This means that, should that germ appear again, your body can more quickly work against it.
It is this adaptation of the immune system that forms the basis of vaccines. A vaccine exposes the body to a foreign cell that is weakened or dead (and thus unable to cause the body harm). However, the body still registers and creates antibodies against these foreign cells, which allows the body to better fight the infection should you become exposed to it in the future.
Two primary problems result from immune system dysfunction. The first is the immune system’s inability to destroy or kill a foreign invader, which results in an infection developing.
The other instance is when the immune system overreacts and goes into “attack mode” despite there being no foreign cell present. In these cases, the immune system starts targeting your own cells, which results in autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions.
From these two problems, it’s clear that there is a range where you want your immune system to be, where it attacks foreign cells but does not overreact.
Now that we know the vital role of the immune system in keeping you healthy, it is time to discuss what you can do to ensure it keeps working as it should. The immune system does a great job of functioning on its own, but there are certain habits you can adopt to help it reach its maximum potential.
Exercising is essential for moving your immune cells throughout the body, from the bone to the bloodstream to the tissues. The more mobile your immune cells are, the more likely they will detect foreign invaders early and begin an attack against them before infection sets in.
Studies have also found that moderate exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, or light hiking, can help immune cells regenerate regularly.
Some vitamins and minerals that are especially important to focus on in regard to boosting your immune system include:
Sleep and immune health are very closely related, with a study finding that those who slept for more than 6 hours each night were less likely to get sick than those who slept for less than 6 hours.
Part of this is because sleep helps strengthen your natural immunity, or the general function of the immune system.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body, with your immune system one of the greatest to suffer. Studies have shown that long-term stress can cause an imbalance in immune cell function and suppress the immune response. By lowering stress levels through exercise, meditation, journaling, or other practices, you can prevent this immune system suppression and see better immune health.
For those who cannot meet their daily nutrient needs through their diet, supplements offer a way to bridge this gap and boost the immune system. However, the key when using supplements is using a reputable brand with ingredients proven to boost the immune system, such as RobKellerMD.
Dr. Robert H. Keller was a world-renowned immunologist who developed formulations for his patients, most with compromised immune systems. Now, RobKeller MD specializes in supplements to strengthen the immune system and help it reach its full potential.
For those looking to boost their immune system, a system that requires many parts to function correctly, combining RobKeller MD supplements with the above tips can provide the immune boost you need to stay healthy.