As a study, immunity describes an organism’s resistance to invading biotic or abiotic pathogens and their efforts to prevent the development of infection.
The elements that hinder and bolster these processes are varied to say the least. In the wake of a devastating pandemic, immunologists can’t take any proposed correlate for granted—in either direction.
For instance, a recent study of 719 patients being treated for the common cold published in the journal Patient Education and Counseling, determined that a strong doctor-patient rapport can actually boost a patient’s immune system by as much as 50%.
“Those who scored the doctor a perfect 10 [on an empathy scale] (around a third of patients) had reduced severity of symptoms, recovered faster and also had higher immune function, about 50% better than others,” the authors explained in a media release. “The more empathic they [patients] perceived their doctor to be—the faster they recovered.”
Although Vitamin C is arguably the most reliable immune booster. Physicians recommend a daily intake of 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.
Having said that, a healthy biological defense is earned via multiple avenues. Habitual exercise, mental wellness, and sleep quality are all influential contributors.
Irrespective of background proper sleep determines an individual’s likelihood of contracting an infection and the amount of time it takes for complete viral clearance.
Without sufficient sleep, the body is incapable of developing inflammation and disease-fighting proteins. A recent paper from the sleep foundation concluded that chronic sleep loss makes the flu vaccine considerably less effective.
Grapefruits. Oranges, clementines, tangerines, lemons, and limes are all great ways to improve immune activity but balance is key. An overactive immune response is one of most consistent features of COVID-19 related deaths.
Recently, Ladders reported on the steadily increasing number of COVID-19 fatalities consequenced by an abundance of immune system agents called cytokines. A cytokine storm occurs when these proteins begin to attack healthy cells in order to eliminate an aggressive pathogen.
This process is common in autoimmune conditions, arthritis and viral infections. More than 80% of participants who died while under review in a recent H1N1 study did so because of cytokines storms.
“Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically,” a recent Harvard Health guideline reported. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or others — is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” — pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance — run the risk of strokes.
Currently, virologists are developing suppressor agents for young healthy adults infected with coronavirus to prevent an overactive immune activity.
In the meantime, readers might want to consider diets studied to contribute to a strong but stable immune response.
The Warrior diet for instance, which requires individuals to undereat for 20 hours a day before loading up on food during the evening lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory substrates linked to cardiovascular disease and many forms of cancer. Additionally, subscribers are better protected from common infections.
To adhere properly, users are encouraged to consume modest amounts of dairy (yogurt, cottage cheese), hard-boiled eggs, raw fruits and vegetables, and calorie-empty beverages within their 20-hour fasting window.
Immunity is difficult to assess in humans but health officials have identified the broad strokes via an eight-point list:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
“Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently,” the Harvard researchers concluded.
CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org