Your immune system plays a vital role in protecting your body from infections and diseases. Composed of cells, tissues, and organs, which work together to fight off bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. The immune system has a great memory too. Once it successfully fights off a germ, it keeps a record of how to recognize and destroy it, should the foreign invader attempt entering the body again.
As smart as your immune system may be at keeping your body healthy, there are certain infections, chemicals, and lifestyle habits that can weaken your ability to ward off illness. Explore the signs of a weakened immune system, how lifestyle habits and nutrition play a role, and ways in which you can give your immune system a boost.
What are the Signs of a Weak Immune System?
One of the most obvious signs of a weakened immune system is getting sick frequently. If your illness also seems to last longer than it does for other people, you may be immunocompromised. But these aren’t the only signs. You may be surprised to learn that things like cold hands and digestive issues can also signal a weak immune system.
Weak immune system signs:
- Frequently get sick
- Illnesses are long-lasting
- Cold hands and feet, which may be an indicator of the autoimmune disorder Raynaud’s1
- Delayed wound healing
- Digestive issues, including gas, cramping, bloating, and constipation
- Prone to cold sores and/or shingles
- Frequent headaches
- Hair loss
Conversely, some signs of a strong immune system include rarely getting sick or bouncing back quickly when you do. If you notice that your wounds often scab up and heal rapidly, this is another indicator that your immune health is in good shape.
How Does an Immune System Become Weak?
While some people are born with a weak immune system, referred to as primary immune deficiency, sometimes the immune system can become weakened by diseases like AIDS, cancer, or even infections like the flu or mononucleosis2. There are also instances in which the immune system will turn on itself and become too active, leading to autoimmune disorders like asthma, eczema, allergic rhinitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
However, your lifestyle habits can also harm your immune system. From smoking to poor diet, here are ways you may be hurting your immunity:
- Smoking: According to the CDC, cigarettes contain nearly 7,000 chemical compounds, many of which suppress the immune system3
- Drinking alcohol: Research shows that alcohol disrupts immune pathways, impairing the body’s ability to defend against infection and impeding recovery from tissue injury4
- Poor diet: Harvard researchers have noted that a poor diet lacking in one or more nutrients can disrupt the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies5
- Inadequate sleep: When you sleep, your body releases protective cytokines to ward off illness; too little sleep impairs this process, thus weakening your immune health6
- Stress: When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that is notorious for suppressing the immune system7
- Obesity: Studies show that obesity correlates with weakened immunity because of the body’s chronically elevated inflammatory state8
- Being unvaccinated: Vaccines work with your immune system by prepping it to fight off infections before they spread and take hold in your body; skipping recommended annual vaccines leaves you vulnerable to infections9
- Prescription medications: Some drugs like those used for cancer patients, immunosuppressants used after organ transplants, corticosteroids, and even antibiotics (used frequently) can hinder your body’s immune response
- Over-the-counter pain relievers: There is some evidence that over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Naproxen can interfere with antibody synthesis, adversely affecting immunity
medicine for a faster recovery.
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Next Steps to Take
Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do for immune health. From getting enough sleep to exercising regularly, here is what you can do to start getting back on track:
- Follow a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage your stress levels
- Quit smoking
- Avoid alcohol or drink in moderation
- Get vaccinated
- Practice good hygiene like frequent hand washing
- Stay hydrated
Strengthening Your Immune System with Food
Following a healthy diet is key to building up your immunity. And while there’s no secret diet to keep you healthy all year long, there are certain foods you can try integrating into your diet and some foods you should eliminate. When it comes to using food to strengthen your immune system, follow these tips:
- Eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes, which are high in nutrients and antioxidants
- Incorporate healthy fats into your diet like salmon, avocado, chia seeds, and dark chocolate
- Eat more fermented foods rich in probiotics like kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt
- Limit foods with added sugars
- Use turmeric, which is revered for its immune-boosting, antiviral properties
- Drink green or black tea, which are rich in antioxidants
- Opt for healthy proteins like lean meats, white fish, and egg whites
Trying a Homeopathic Medication
Whether you’re eating food or taking medicine, ingredients matter. Most over-the-counter medications we reach for have synthetic chemicals that fight your body’s response to getting sick. Now there is Brillia Health that works with your body to help you heal better and faster.
Brillia Health products work with your immune system, not against it, to relieve such symptoms as stuffy nose, congestion, throat pain, cough, and body aches. Free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects, Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control shorten illness severity and duration through powerful antibody ingredients that won’t make you drowsy or cause stomach upset. Because most symptoms associated with colds and flus are caused by the body’s inflammatory response, both products contain an antibody to histamine to reduce inflammation at the source. And one of the key ingredients in the Cold-Flu Recovery product is an antibody called lapine interferon gamma immune globulin, which actually strengthens immune cells and recruits even more to ward off illness.
Instead of masking symptoms with chemicals like many other OTC medications, Brillia Health helps your body recover gently and efficiently with clinically-proven science comparable to prescription medications.
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