Let’s be honest, there’s never a good time to be sick! Unfortunately, some common solutions (“give them ginger ale!”) actually make the problem worse. It’s important to know what factors are at play so we can prevent these bugs from attacking us in the first place!
For starters, did you know that over 75% of our immune system lives in our GUT? We rely on our immune system to stay healthy, which includes fighting off any bugs, parasites, viruses, bacteria, mould or fungus that comes our way. At The Movement Boutique, our unique treatment philosophy is based on addressing the root cause of a symptom, which often leads us to investigating the gut. A healthy body is dependent on a properly functioning immune system, and having appropriate immune responses is dependent upon having a healthy gut! This means any impairment to our digestive system can jeopardize the condition of our immune system, and make it less effective when it comes to preventing illness.
Here are 5 other factors that can affect our immunity:
1. Chronic stress
Chronic stress suppresses our immune response by signalling the release of cortisol. Cortisol interferes with the ability of our protective white blood cells to communicate with the rest of the body and keep our immunity in check. High cortisol levels have also been linked to low levels of an essential antibody called IgA – IgA lines our gut and is known as our first line of defense against foreign substances. A low level of this might help explain why you seem “prone” to recurring colds all winter! Curious where you stand? We test for this and other immune markers in our functional medicine program!
2. Lack of sleep
Lack of adequate rest can disrupt our body’s natural sleep/wake cycle, which activates an inflammatory immune response and interferes with the role of T-cells, weakening our immune system. We recommend our favourite supplement Insomnitol Chewables to ensure a good night’s sleep (great for cases of jet-lag!). Implementing healthy sleep hygiene habits, like dimming like lights in your home, avoiding screens and meditating can also help improve your sleep.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Water is under-rated! When our body runs low on fluids, it puts our immune system at risk. Water helps to keep our immune cells functioning optimally by keeping mucous membranes (like our nose!) moist and helping the blood transport oxygen their way. Additionally, it helps two important organs, our kidneys and liver, clear toxins out of the body.
4. Processed foods
The cells in our gut thrive off the foods we consume – The wrong types of bacteria and yeast (aka bad guys) tend to like the processed stuff, like white salt, inflammatory fats and sugar, which can cause them to grow in number and make our immune system less capable of fighting off bugs. On the contrary, foods like leafy greens and resistant starches can help promote the growth of healthy bacteria and strengthen our immune system.
5. Overusing antibiotics
The issue with antibiotics is that in killing off harmful bacteria, antibiotics kill off the good guys too, which, as we know, impacts our immunity. In a recent study, researchers found a wide-array of adverse antibiotic effects on the GI system, immune system, and metabolic system, even finding links between antibiotic use and an increase in obesity and stress.Moral of the story: Only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary (because sometimes, it is) and make sure to combat the effects with the right diet and supplement protocol.
Want an all-natural immune boost?
Acupuncture can regulate the immune system and address the underlying root cause of an illness by:
1) mitigating symptoms
2) initiating healing
3) normalizing the body’s immune response