Sunday, May 20, 2012

Boosting your immune system?

Is it possible to boost your immune system? Most probably not. Should I stop here? Leave you in the dark? No way.

The immune system is very complex. If it would be possible to boost the immune system, it also means putting someone with an autoimmune disease at a higher risk for disease activity.

But that doesn’t mean that lifestyle may not have any effects on the immune system. One can enhance balance and harmony by not burdening the immune system with harmful effects like exercising too much or not enough, psychological stress, alcohol, smoking, diet, and more.

Much has been written on the net concerning micronutrients and you find lots of advertisements on supplements. In fact there are deficiencies, which vary from where you live: the US is rich in iodine, Germany for instance has a problem with deficiency. Some parts of the word are rich in selenium other region supply only deficient amounts in the local diet. Avoid high doses like in “orthomolecular medicine”. Normally you won’t need supplementation. Lots of foods are enriched, that means you already get more that enough of some of the vitamins. Some people have to stay out of sun (lupus patients for instance, or because of drugs like MTX) and then Vit. D supplementation is a good idea. Some people go vegan, which is a great idea personally and globally, but these persons might need Vit. B12 supplementation. For the uncertain and anxious: don’t burden your immune system with anxiety, use a multi vitamin/micronutrient pill, which any supermarket supplies. If you compare these with the ones you buy in drug stores, they contain more or less the same amounts, but differ enormously in price. The firm producing the pills get the vitamins from 3 or 4 giant producers, so all comes from the same source, only in different packages. For the non anxious - forget supplementation.

Some herbs are said to enhance the immune system like echinacea, ginseng, garlic, and more, but no study confirms current claims. Liquorice root might cause hypertension.

Stress and sleeplessness reduce normal function of the immune system. That’s something where you could start boosting your immune system right away.

Your healthy lifestyle could include:
• reduce your stress
• don’t smoke, avoid drugs
don't do drugs
• avoid infections (crowds, swimming in unclean waters, sex life etc.)
• wash your hands regularly
• enjoy the sun, but don’t burn in the sun, use sunscreen
• maintain normal weight
• look for normal blood pressure
• adequate sleep
• exercise regularly, but resist the “no pain no gain” strategy
• don’t drink alcohol or only in moderation
• your diet should be high in vegetables, whole grain products, fruits, low in meat, saturated fat and trans fatty acids
• get your screening for cancer, diabetes

Good source and much background information:

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