Nobody expected “20Plenty” to kick off with a pandemic, but here we are panic-buying hand santiser and surgical masks in droves
Thing is, while keeping your hands clean and avoiding touching your face (that’s the main purpose of wearing a mask, if you didn’t know), will help us “flatten the curve”, having a healthy immune system will become invaluable.
Your immune system explained
Despite the fact that “immunity” is on everyone’s lips, many people still don’t know what their immune system is or how it functions. As a result, they’re popping high volumes of vitamin C and other self-proclaimed immune-boosting supplements in a bid to enhance their first line of defence. Unfortunately, things are little more complex.
Your immune system isn’t a particular organ. It’s a large number of varied cells, each with a specific job, that work together to protect your body from viruses, bacteria and parasites. When it detects an invader, it figures out which type is attacking you then sends in cells that can destroy it and save the day. For the record, not all of your immune system cells are fighters. Some are more like “security”. They exist to keep a record of invading pathogens so, if you’re ever exposed to it again, your body can immediately deploy the right type of warrior cells to blitz them in record time.
So, can you beef things up?
Many people wish to “boost” their immune system but unfortunately that’s just not possible. Your immune system will only ever operate at its natural optimum, something it does when you’re in good health. These two things – your immune system and your general health – are inextricably linked. So, if you’re not in good overall health, there isn’t a single vitamin cocktail that could counteract the negative effect this would have on your immune system.
Obviously, that’s not great news for anyone looking for a quick fix, but you can also be grateful there isn’t a “magic bullet” that could send your immune system into overdrive. After all, many auto-immune diseases are essentially the result of an over active immune system. These include dread diseases like multiple sclerosis and anything else characterised by an immune system that’s gone rogue, become confused and started attacking your own body as opposed to just a threat.
As we said, your immune system and general health are linked. If you take good care of yourself, your immune system will improve. If you don’t look after your health, it’ll take a dip. This is why it’s important always remember what Health Renewal doctors consider the four pillars of good health – good nutrition, a healthy gut, exercise, stress management. (For the record, these all rest on a foundation many people underestimate and that’s plenty of good quality, deeply restorative sleep.)
Many people underestimate the gut aspect, but doctors know that good health starts in your stomach. After all, 70 to 80 percent of your body’s immunity cells can be found in your intestines! To improve your gut health, ensure you’re eating a nutritious diet, avoid any foods that irritate your stomach and keep your gut bacteria balanced. The latter two can be tricky, but fortunately something our Health Renewal doctors can easily assist you with. They’ll be able to assess and diagnose gastric conditions as well as food sensitivities and even help you get a clear picture of gut bacteria profile. If the latter is out of balance, meaning you have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, they can help you repopulate with the good type using an anti-inflammatory diet and supplements like a probiotic.
The bottom line
In short, you don’t need a fizzy multivitamin to “enhance” your immune system. If you take good care of your health, something our Health Renewal doctors can happily help you with, your body will do it’s very best to take care of you.
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