The immune system is a complex system that works to fight off foreign bodies, clean up cellular debris, fight pathogens and keep us healthy. You may not know it but almost everything you do can affect your immune system positively or negatively.
Today let's look at 5 ways you might be hurting your immune health.
LACK OF SLEEP
When you sleep, your body releases cytokines, proteins that control the growth and regulate the activity of cells important to immune system function.
When you are not getting enough sleep, you are making yourself more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Your body will have a harder time releasing antibodies to fight off illness and could keep you sicker for longer.
Many of our cellular maintenance and clean-up activities are designed to occur during sleep. Losing sleep is like a plant losing turn-around time or a car losing all basic maintenance. Obviously, this is not optimal.
NOT ENOUGH VITAMIN D
Vitamin D3 is very important to immune function. Immune cells such as T cells, B cells, and monocytes have vitamin D receptors.
Insufficient levels of vitamin D may inhibit your immune response as it acts as a regulator and keeps the immune system working correctly. Higher levels of vitamin D have been shown to improve immune response.
Over time a high-fat or high-protein diet can disturb the balance of your gut bacteria destroying good bacteria essential to immune function.
Not eating enough fruits and veggies and eating oily foods and excessive animal-proteins can reduce white blood cell production needed to help your body fight off foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE
Regular exercise increases blood flow. With a healthy blood flow, your body can transport white blood cells and other proteins and antibodies to areas of your body in need of an immunity response.
Exercise also induces changes inside most cells that promotes increased glucose uptake and helps to make cells more efficient and effective.
Stressing the body occasionally with exercise is important for cellular maintenance and to support healthy DNA and other aspects of the cell. This is true for immune cells as well as muscle cells. Regular exercise will also help you have better quality sleep!
SMOKING AND DRINKING
Nicotine and alcohol negatively affect the immune system and work as immunosuppressants. They stunt the immune system's ability to respond to and fight off foreign bodies.
Too much alcohol is effectively a toxin to the system. Nicotine basically cuts off blood flow to tissues. Neither situation is conducive to wellness.
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