Have you ever thought how you could improve your immunity naturally? Most people who rarely get sick take proactive steps to keep their immune system in tip-top shape so it can fight off almost anything that it comes in contact with. By making smart choices like the ones we’ll discuss in this blog, you can ensure your immune system remains strong and robust.
Eating for Immunity
When you’re under the weather and just trying to get through the day, necessities like food are often the last things on your mind. You just want to feel better, and, honestly, even your favourite foods seem unappetizing when your nose is clogged, your throat is sore and you can’t taste a thing. However, making it a point to eat healthy foods while you are sick can help speed up your recovery and may help you stay better longer.
While sick, it’s important to give your digestive system a break by eating easily digestible, nutrient-dense foods. Here are a few ideas to get started…
- Start with soup, as bone broth contains minerals that can help boost your immune system.
- Consider adding yogurt with probiotics that can help improve your sleep, digestion, and overall immunity.
- Stick to lean meats, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce any nagging inflammation (1)(2)
Exercising for Immunity
Being active helps you feel more energised, and it strengthens your immune system in a variety of ways.
- Exercise gets our blood pumping more rapidly, which helps white blood cells circulate more rapidly to better fend off illness.
- Increased activity levels can also slow down the release of stress hormones and stimulate the release of endorphins.
- Higher body temperatures driven by exercise can help prevent bacteria from growing and aid the immune system in fighting infection.
- A recent health survey found that an incredible 60% of participants reported fewer colds since they began their exercise routine. (3)
When Immune Systems Don’t Work
The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against infection and disease, and when it’s functioning well, it can distinguish between foreign invaders and healthy cells. However, there are cases in which the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking healthy cells. This can lead to allergies, autoimmune diseases, and immunodeficiency disorders.
- Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a harmless substance, such as pollen or dust.
- Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissues, cells, and organs. Common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease (hypothyroidism).
- Immunodeficiency disorders happen when the immune system is weakened or dysfunctional, and therefore unable to effectively fight off infection.
- The role that epigenetics plays can predispose one to immune disorders, as can certain medications and infections. (4)
Medical Treatments for Immune Disorders
Treatment for an immune disorder will vary depending on the underlying cause. One common therapy is immunotherapy, which helps to stimulate the immune system and can be used to treat a variety of conditions. Corticosteroids are another type of therapy that can be used to suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. Finally, biological therapies such as infliximab and etanercept can help to target specific parts of the immune system and are often used to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. While there is no cure for an immune disorder, these medical therapies can help to improve the symptoms. (5)
The upside to medical intervention can be the rapid initial action. However this does not always take care of the cause of the problem, your body’s inability to work for itself naturally. Overuse of medications can lead to resistance, the need for , and reliance upon further medicines.
Alternative Therapies for Immune Disorders
Several alternative therapies are effective in treating immune disorders.
- One of the most well-known is acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, and recent studies have shown that it can be effective in boosting the immune system. (6)
- Another promising therapy is meditation. As stress upon the body increases, the efficacy of the immune system decreases. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels.
- Several supplements are thought to boost immunity, such as vitamin C and Echinacea. (7) While more research is needed to confirm their efficacy, these supplements offer a safe and effective way to improve immune function.
Chiropractic Care for Immune Disorders
Chiropractor in Chatswood is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on enhancing the performance of the brain and nervous system. Chiropractors use manual therapy techniques to correct these disorders of the vertebral column (spine), thereby effecting the quality and quantity of nerve messages from the brain to the body and vice versa. The Chiropractor will also recommending lifestyle changes congruent to the human genetic blueprint. These changes, such as exercise and a better diet, help their patients improve their overall health and as a result improve your immunity.
Relaxation of neck tension after an adjustment is common, leading to a feeling of less stress. That matters because when your stress response is lowered, your immune system can better fend off illness. Here’s why…
- Inflammation, the normal response of a compromised immune system, can increase sympathetic nerve activity.
- Your sympathetic nervous system is responsible for your stress (fight or flight) response.
- When your sympathetic nervous system is activated, it inhibits your immune function (as you aren’t able to rest and recover well).
… the Research is in…
Mounting evidence suggests that chiropractic care can not only promote a healthy immune system, but can also be effective in treating some immune disorders. For example, one study found that chiropractic adjustments increased the activity of natural killer cells (white blood cells that help to fight infection). Another study found that chiropractic care was associated with reduced inflammation and improved functioning of the immune system in people with allergies. While more research is needed to confirm these findings, it is clear that chiropractic care has the potential to improve the health of patients with immune disorders. (9)
Some people with immune disorders may benefit from daily chiropractic care, while others may only need to be seen once a week or every other week. Ultimately, the best course of treatment will be determined by working closely with a qualified chiropractor. With regular adjustments, many people with immune disorders can experience significant improvement in their overall health and well-being.
A robust immune system will enable you to keep enjoying the things you love with the people you love. If that is important to you, don’t forget to eat healthy, keep active and get adjusted regularly. All of us at Family Chiropractic Chatswood look forward to being able to facilitate your journey towards wellness and happiness in helping you get better, stay well and feel alive.
- Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dec 2002 | Medline Plus. Exercise and Immunity. 2017 | Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017
- Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. Oct 2000. Probiotics and immune health. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. Oct 2011.Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Dec 2002
- Medline Plus. Exercise and Immunity. 2017. American College of Sports Medicine: “Exercise and the Common Cold.” 2017. Harvard Health Publishing. Exercising to Relax. February 2011
- Nicholson LindsayB. The immune system. Essays in Biochemistry [Internet]. 2016 Oct 26 [cited 2022 Apr 23];60(3):275–301. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5091071/
- Richard-Eaglin A, Smallheer BA. Immunosuppressive/Autoimmune Disorders. Nursing Clinics of North America [Internet]. 2018 Sep [cited 2022 Apr 23];53(3):319–34. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30099999/#:~:text=Autoimmune%20disorders%20are%20a%20category,well%20as%20the%20systems%20involved
- Autoimmune disorders – Better Health Channel [Internet]. Vic.gov.au. 2014 [cited 2022 Apr 23]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/autoimmune-disorders#:~:text=x%2Drays.-,Treatment%20for%20autoimmune%20disorders,corticosteroids%20%E2%80%93%20to%20reduce%20inflammation.
- ACT Wellness Center [Internet]. Actwellness.com. 2016 [cited 2022 Apr 23]. Available from: https://www.actwellness.com/blog/104717-chiropractic-and-autoimmune-diseases#:~:text=Chiropractic%20and%20autoimmune%20diseases%20are,can%20improve%20your%20immune%20function
- Enhanced phagocytic cell respiratory burst induced by spinal manipulation: potential role of substance P. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. September 1991 | Spinal Manipulative Therapy Reduces Inflammatory Cytokines but Not Substance P Production in Normal Subjects. January 2006 | Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects. Chiropractic & Osteopathy. September 2010 | Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2017