If you’re like most people, you might not always have your immune system’s best interest at bay. In fact, we often take our immune system for granted. We’re dedicating this blog post to understanding the immune system, identifying when your immune system is weakened, and how you can boost your health!
A healthy immune system allows us to work 40 plus hours a week, get the kids to practice, socialize on the weekends, exercise in the mornings, and enjoy all the things we love doing.
It seems the busier we are, the more we forget to nourish our bodies. If you think about it, your immune system is really the central hub of your entire health. Your immune system fights off infections from bacteria and toxins in order to keep you healthy.
We all know how important it is to stay healthy during the colder months, so as we transition into fall, your immune system should be your top priority.
What is your immune system?
The immune system refers to a collection of cells, chemicals, and processes that function to protect the skin, respiratory passages, intestinal tract, and other areas from foreign antigens, such as microbes (organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and parasites), viruses, cancer cells, and toxins.
There are two main types of your immune system: innate and adaptive. Innate immunity is your first line of defense. The innate immune system includes physical and anatomical barriers (such as skin and mucus) as well as defense cells.
Your innate immune system is the one you are born with. It acts quickly, but only has a limited amount of power to stop germs from spreading.
The adaptive immune system, also known as the acquired immune system, acts just how it sounds. It is a system acquired through the innate immune system that you already have. It helps to destroy pathogens, just the same, but it does behave slightly differently.
Unlike the innate immune system, the adaptive immune system has the ability to memorize pathogens that enter the body, so it can easily recognize them when they enter again.
Your immune function relies on you taking care of yourself. Our bodies are so complex, that if we care for them correctly, they are designed to work without a hitch.
White blood cells
It's also important to understand the role of white blood cells in our immune function. White blood cells are the blood cells within our innate and adaptive immune systems that attack unwanted pathogens and other foreign intruders.
When your white blood cell count is low, you are more likely to get sick. White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. After early childhood, most immune cells are produced from the bone marrow. They are released when your body feels under attack.
White blood cells are produced naturally as long as you are taking proper care of your body and giving it the nutrients, sleep, and hydration it needs!
Signs you may have a weak immune system
This list certainly does not cover all the signs and symptoms of a weak immune system, but it's a good place to start. Here are a few warning signs that you may need to up your immune system care for a faster immune response!
1. You’re always tired
Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body. During proper sleep, our bodies regenerate cells and restore strength. On the contrary, if you're always feeling tired, your body has not had the proper time to strengthen and restore.
Read more about how sleep affects your immune system in our blog 5 Reasons To Start Getting More Sleep.
2. Your gut gives you trouble
Your gut is tied so closely to your immune system believe it or not. If you experience frequent stomach or digestive issues, you may have a weakened immune function.
If you find yourself always constipated or have trouble passing, your immune system may be telling your digestive tract to slow down. A healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in your microbiome keeps your gut healthy and in turn, keeps your immune response strong.
3. Your stress is through the roof
Stress is a major concern when it comes to health. Signs you may be stressed include, weight fluctuation, headaches, muscle tension, and a racing heart. Stress can certainly lower your body's immunity by decreasing the number of white blood cells produced.
4. You get colds often
Your immune system is there to help your body fight infections. If you're finding that you get sick often, there may be a link to weakened immunity. Load up on vitamin C if you're feeling a cold coming on, and also, consider how you've been treating yourself lately.
Have you been getting enough sleep, nutrients, exercise, and water? Have you been stressed? Has your schedule been too busy? There are patterns we can find if we try to recognize them when we're not feeling our best.
5. Your joints ache
Achy joints and muscle discomfort can come from overexertion or poor inflammatory response. If you're finding your joints are aching often, consider that your immune system may need some boosting.
If your immune system is unable to respond to certain pathogens in the joints, your inflammatory response may be weakened in return. Superfoods high in antioxidants, such as turmeric and ginger can support both immunity and inflammatory response.
6. Your skin gets rashes
White blood cells within your immune system also help to fight infections on the skin. If you're noticing your skin is developing more open wounds or rashes, this may be a sign to look inward.
When your immune system is healthy, flesh wounds should develop less frequently. It's normal for wounds to take some time to restore, but if they last a long time, it might be worth looking into.
Tips on strengthening immunity!
If you've related to one or two of the aforementioned signs of a weakened immune response, don't worry! Here are some tips that you can start utilizing right away to strengthen that immune system of yours.
Get plenty of sleep
Like we've mentioned before, our cells are not able to properly repair themselves when you’re sleep-deprived. Aim for about 8 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep per night.
Take a high-quality probiotic
Over 70% of your immune system’s cells reside in your gut. Since your gut is unavoidably tied to your immunity and overall wellness, a probiotic supplement with the right strains (like the LA-14 in our Primal Probiotics) is an absolute must-have!
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
Excessive smoking and drinking can wreak havoc on your immune system. If you smoke, speak to your doctor about how you can construct a plan to help you quit as soon as possible.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Especially dark, leafy greens. Or if your diet is often less than ideal or you're constantly on the go, try adding a daily green powder to your routine to help prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Our greens powder features a refreshing mint berry blast flavor if you're looking to shake things up a bit. This ultimate berry greens drink features all the antioxidants, superfoods, and adaptogenic mushrooms you could want!
Decrease stress levels
Increased levels of cortisol due to stress can damage immune responses. If you struggle to manage your stress, now is the time to research healthy stress reduction methods, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or walking in nature.
Take a multivitamin or immune booster
It's important to eat plenty of immune-boosting foods containing essential vitamins like C, B6, D, and E, and nutrients such as selenium and zinc. A quality immune booster or targeted multivitamin supplement can help fill in the gaps with essential vitamins and minerals required for strong immunity. Learn more about our Immune Support Bundle here.
Focus on a healthy lifestyle
Studies show that regular physical activity and plenty of water can strengthen your immune system. This also means avoiding toxins contained in alcohol, overly processed foods, and the like. When you treat your body with the respect it deserves, your immune system will care for you in return!
Summary: Give your immune system the love it deserves!
Now that you are aware of how your immune system functions, what signs may mean your immune system is weak, and what steps you can take towards better health, you can go into the colder months much better equipped.
We hope you will take this knowledge and run with it because it's about you, your health, and living your best life!