- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Do You Need to Boost Your Immune System?
Your Immune System
Your immune system is your defense, your army- it attacks invaders and what it perceives to be a threat. I'm not getting too scientific because I have a much more important message to deliver than a science lesson. Your immune response can be as simple as a scrape being healed on your arm or can be as complicated as your own immune system attacking itself.
Yes, your immune system can attack your own body and this happens to the millions of sufferers with autoimmune illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Lupus. Maybe you thought those autoimmune illnesses were due to a weak immune system and you couldn't be more wrong- they are due to a hyper, over-active immune system. The medications prescribed for these illnesses are immune suppressants- immune boosters would wreak havoc on someone with, for example Rheumatoid Arthritis.There is some speculation that the reason many healthy individuals suddenly get an illness, such as the ones mentioned above, is because they were not exposed to enough germs to have a normal immune system.
Knowing this, how do you feel about boosting your immunity? What do you think of the many products that promote immune boosting and superior immune functioning as their selling point? A popular smoothie shop offers to add an immune boost to your drink, even the yogurt aisle draws you in by taking an immune boosting challenge. I bet you might find one other hub article, maybe, about the ill effects of boosting yor immune system compared to hundreds of articles on here giving you advice on how to boost your immune system. The more we see it the more we think we need it.
In reality, our bodies, including our immune systems, have evolved in such a way to naturally protect us. It is interesting that each time a scary epidemic virus makes news, we see a dramatic rise in products geared to make money from that fear. These claims of boosting immunity are only claims. We have the right idea about gearing ourselves toward prevention, but even this is causing some negative side effects. Boosting your immune system can actually increase the inflammation response in your body. Heart disease is just one of so many outcomes of increased inflammation.
We are finally figuring out that washing our hands with anitbacterial soap can cause more harm, or ingesting too much of an immune boosting nutrient can cause other diseases, and this all makes sense because why fix something that isn't broken. If you get a cold a few times a year, that is actually better for your health than avoiding germs and colds altogether. Just because you get a cold doesn't mean you are unhealthy. One piece of proof for this is children who attend daycare and/or get more colds before starting school, have less colds during their school years.
Homeostasis vs. Immune Boosting
What we are really striving for is homeostasis- that is our body's function and desire. No boosting required. What is adequate for our bodies? Simple, hype-and-unsupported-claim-less ways to have a healthy immune system are getting good sleep and rest, fiber, healthy food, drink more water, exercise, and stress reduction. On the note of exercise; it is an example of something that keeps our immune system healthy but too much of it starts creating a negative effect on the body.
There is one thing that has been proven to boost immunity and that is vaccinations. I don't want to start a debate over them, but backed by scientific proof, it is the only thing to boost immuntiy and have superior defenses specific for what the vaccination is intended for. For those of you against vaccinations think of how harmful products that aren't proven can be for one's health. Every immune-boosting product you see on the shelf is not proven, yet vaccinations and that concept of controlled exposure is.
Maybe instead of "boosting" we should concentrate on "avoiding" such immune depressors like stress, sugar, over-use of antibiotics and other medications, and environmental pollutants. What's interesting to me is I've witnessed people making excuses for taking immune boosting supplements because they have a high stress life. They think they are being preventative, but the better option is to look at what and why their lifestyle is so high-stress, perhaps meditation would be a healthier option if you can't avoid stress. Also, think of it this way- if you do not give yourself a break from stress, your body will do it for you- it will create ill health to slow you down.
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