How to Optimize Your Immune System
Drinking enough water optimizes your body’s performance in every aspect. Staying hydrated has been associated with an increase in the performance of your immune system. Studies have shown that fluid balance plays a major role in immunity and immune function .
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining optimal immune system health. Some of the functions of the lymph system are:
- Maintains fluid levels in your body: The lymphatic system collects excess fluid that drains from cells and tissue throughout your body and returns it to your bloodstream, it then recirculates through your body.
- Absorbs fats from the digestive tract: Lymph includes fluids from your intestines that contain fats and proteins and transport them back to your bloodstream.
- Protects your body against foreign invaders: The lymphatic system produces and releases lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that monitor and destroy foreign invaders.
How the Lymphatic System Helps Optimize Your Immune System
How does the lymphatic system help your immune system? ]Here are studies we found out regarding this topic:
1. Transports and removes waste products and abnormal cells from the lymph.
The lymphatic system relies heavily on lymph which is made up of about 90% water. Less body water may mean less lymph production or a less efficient lymph system.
2. In A 2013 study published in Luminescence, researchers investigated the effects of dehydration on immune functions in 25 university judoists after a judo practice session.
Subjects were divided into two groups according to their level of dehydration after practice (mild dehydration and severe dehydration).
Results suggested that dehydration resulted in immunosuppression, including decreased neutrophil (an important type of tissue-healing and infection-fighting white blood cell) function.
3. In a 2012 study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism by researchers. In this investigation, they found the effect of exercise-induced dehydration and overnight fluid restriction on saliva antimicrobial proteins (secretory IgA (SIgA), α-amylase, and lysozyme). All are essential for the host defense.
The researchers concluded that modest dehydration decreased salivary flow rate (SFR), α-amylase, and lysozyme secretion rates. However, they also commented that whether the observed magnitude of decrease in saliva AMPs during dehydration compromises host defense remains to be shown.
4. A 2019 review showed that researchers evaluated the effects of dehydration on several kinds of allergy responses and exercise-induced asthma, especially during endurance exercise.
They found that exercise-induced dehydration reduces airway surface hydration, resulting in increased bronchoconstriction. This is a response to exercise in exercise-induced asthma individuals and asthma patients .
How Sleep Affects the Immune System and Your Mood
Sleep is one of the most important components of staying healthy. Not only does sleep impact your immune system it is safe to say that sleep affects every part of your life. Many people don’t know that a part of your immune system actually increases when you fall asleep. When you sleep the production of cytokines increases, which means you’re in a more inflamed state .
Some experts even say that sleep can increase immune memory:
- During sleep, breathing and muscle activity slow down, freeing up energy for the immune system to perform these critical tasks.
- The inflammation that happens during sleep could harm physical and mental performance if it occurred during waking hours, so the body has evolved so that these processes unfold during nightly sleep.
- Melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone that is produced at night, is adept at counteracting the stress that can come from inflammation during sleep.
Undifferentiated or less differentiated cells like naïve and central memory T cells peak during the night, when the more slowly evolving adaptive immune response is initiated.
Nocturnal sleep, and especially SWS prevalent during the early night, promotes the release of GH and prolactin, while anti-inflammatory actions of cortisol and catecholamines are at the lowest levels .
The endocrine milieu during early sleep critically supports (1) the interaction between APC and T cells, as evidenced by enhanced production of IL-12, (2) a shift of the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance towards Th1 cytokines, and (3) an increase in Th cell proliferation and (4) probably also facilitates the migration of naïve T cells to lymph nodes.
Thereby, the endocrine milieu during early sleep likely promotes the initiation of Th1 immune responses that eventually supports the formation of long-lasting immunological memories.
Prolonged sleep curtailment and the accompanying stress response invoke a persistent unspecific production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This is best described as chronic low-grade inflammation, and also produces immunodeficiency, which both have detrimental effects on health.
Effects of Citrus, Ginger, and Yogurt in Optimizing Your Immune System
To stay healthy and maintain a solid immune system, you must include foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins. How can citrus, ginger, and yogurt help optimize your immune system? In many ways, of course. For one, citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which keeps your immune system strong. Ginger is an excellent addition to food and drinks. It also helps decrease inflammation in your body, while yogurt’s “live cultures” help stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. In addition to that, here are the health benefits of citrus, ginger, and yogurt:
- Citrus fruits have a high vitamin C content. They are also high in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin B. They also contain a good amount of fiber.
- Citrus fruits also contain antioxidants. It is theorized that antioxidants may block the expression of certain genes that can be associated with cancer or certain degenerative diseases.
- Ginger boosts a variety of antioxidants such as gingerols, paradols, sesquiterpenes, shogaols, and zingerone.
- It has been shown that ginger is able to decrease inflammation in conditions such as RA, gut disease, and asthma
- A 2-month study in 64 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking 2 grams of ginger powder daily significantly reduced levels of inflammatory proteins like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (CRP), compared to taking a placebo .
- In another study, male athletes who received 1.5 grams of ginger powder daily for 6 weeks had significant reductions in levels of inflammatory markers, such as TNF-alpha, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1-beta), compared to athletes who received a placebo
- One of the key elements in why yogurt helps the immune system is its probiotic effect, specifically something called lactobacillus .
- Lactobacillus produces an enzyme called lactase which breaks down lactose into lactic acid.
- In one study in 326 children, six months of daily L. acidophilus probiotics reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41%, antibiotic use by 68%, and days absent from school by 32%
Supplements to Help Optimize Your Immune System
Supplements are always talked about, especially in winter. In addition to that, winter is when most people get sick. It is why it is crucial to keep your body healthy. You can also do this by taking supplements. What are the supplements you need to help optimize your immune system?
- The recommended amount is 600 – 2000 IU.
- Vitamin D is required in the regulation of T and B cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and keratinocytes. There also seems to be a link between vitamin D and many autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease, juvenile diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks, are excellent foods rich in Vitamin D.
Vitamin C Optimizes Your Immune System
- For adults, the recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) a day, and the upper limit is 2,000 mg a day
- Research shows vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissue all over the body. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage — a type of firm tissue that covers the bones.
- As an antioxidant, vitamin C fights free radicals in the body which may help prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease and promote healthy aging. Vitamin C from foods also seems to reduce the risk of cartilage loss in those with osteoarthritis.
- Citrus fruit, such as oranges and orange juice, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes.
- The amount of iron you need is 8.7mg a day for men over 18. 14.8mg a day for women aged 19 to 50. 8.7mg a day for women over 50.
- The main responsibility of iron is properly functioning hemoglobin. It helps carry oxygen to your tissue and organs.
- Some of the other ways iron helps your immune system is by playing a major role in pathways and immune cells involved in iron regulation, from initial uptake in the gut to the utilization of iron for Fe-S clusters, heme biogenesis, and mitochondrial function.
- Shellfish, spinach, liver, legumes, red meat, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa
Vitamin E to Help Optimize Your Immune System
- The recommended daily amount of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams a day.
- Besides acting as an antioxidant, vitamin E supports your body’s immune function by supporting the growth of t cells. The role of the t cell is to fight infection by fighting against infected cells and activating other immune cells for an effective immune response. As a result, Vitamin E is a necessary tool in helping your body fight off and prevent infections.
- Kiwi, avocado, spinach, squash, seeds, asparagus, and berries are great sources of Vitamin E.
- The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms
- Hyperhomocysteinemia that occurs due to deficiency of folic acid and B12 causes systemic and vascular inflammation contributing to the pathogenesis of many other diseases such as cardiovascular, kidney, and neurovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and cancer.
- Adequate dietary levels of folic acid and B12 can act as preventative measures for inflammation, immune dysfunction, and disease progression.
- Salmon, walnuts, leafy greens, legumes, and eggs are excellent sources of Vitamin B.
Do you want to optimize your immune system better? Check out the full Episode 80 here 👇
2:17 Episode Introduction
4:34 Maintain Hydration
13:53 How sleep affects the immune system and your mood
22:20 Citrus, ginger, and yogurt