Immune System Boosters Parkersburg WV
Internal Medicine, Hematology / Oncology
General Practice, Family Practice
Strengthening Your Immune System
By Kristin Bjornsen
Unless you live in a plastic bubble, you can’t seal yourself away from all germs in life. They’re everywhere—especially this time of year. Your best bet to stay healthy is to strengthen your immune system so it can defeat any microscopic invaders before they lay siege.
But if you took all the immune boosters recommended by magazines, books, and Mom, you’d not only empty your pocketbook, but you’d likely harm your health too. “Don’t get trapped into thinking you want to boost your immunity as much as possible,” says Mark Moyad, MD, director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center. “Allergies and autoimmune diseases are examples of a hyperreactive immune system.” Moyad suggests taking most immune-bolstering supplements during cold season but then scaling back for the rest of the year (with the exception of multivitamins and vitamin D3).
But the question remains: Which of the myriad supplements and strategies out there really work? We asked our experts, and you’ll be surprised at how simple and effective their top picks are.
Shore up your defenses. “Lifestyle is the best tool,” says Mary Saunders, LAc, founder of Boulder Community Acupuncture in Boulder, Colorado. You’ve heard this a million times, but for good reason. Getting eight hours of sleep a night, reducing stress, exercising, staying hydrated, and eating mostly produce, whole grains, unsaturated fats, and lean protein gives your body the raw nutrients and energy it needs to manufacture immune cells. These healthy habits also decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol—which can suppress immunity in high amounts—and balance the body’s alkalinity ratio. “Pathogens thrive in acidic environments,” says Saunders. “If you keep your body alkaline, you’re more resistant to infection.” Coffee, alcohol, sugar, and hard cheeses increase acidity, so limit your intake. For extra help getting your fruits and veggies, Saunders recommends green drinks—specifically Designs for Health’s PaleoGreens (available only through health practitioners), ProGreens by the Allergy Research Group, and New Chapter’s Berry Green—that contain at least four servings of vegetables.
Lose an inch. Along with lowering your risk of heart disease, “losing just one inch from around your waist boosts immunity tremendously,” Moyad says. It does this partly by decreasing inflammation. Normally, during an acute illness or infection, white blood cells release inflammatory chemicals that fight bacteria and viruses. In this case, inflammation is a good thing. But excess belly fat triggers the release of those inflammatory compounds even in the absence of a threat. This chronic, low-level inflammation “throws off the immune system, so it starts treating the body itself as a problem,” Moyad says. This raises the risk of everything from diabetes to the common cold. A good trick for dropping the spare tire: Buy a pedometer, and take at least 10,000 steps a day....
Author: Kristin Bjornsen
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