The Virus Series: Supporting the Immune System

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The Virus Series: Supporting the Immune System

In this article, we discuss fundamentals of immunology and how to strengthen the immune system with lifestyle factors to help mitigate the negative impact of viruses.

Basics of Immunology

  • Life has been attempting to protect itself from harm since the dawn of biology.
  • This protective system is known as the immune system.
  • One of the primary aspects of the immune system is to differentiate self (components of one’s own body) from non-self (foreign bodies, such as viruses).
  • The most primitive aspect of the immune system is known as the innate immune system and reacts quickly and non-specifically to invaders.
  • A more recent evolution of the immune system is known as the adaptive immune system, which reacts more slowly but specifically than the innate immune system. It consists of B cells and T cells.

Lifestyle Factors for Optimized Immune Function

Important lifestyle and environmental factors that contribute to functional immunity include:

Sleep and sleep hygiene:

Boosts T cell production and immune communication.

Proper Diet:

Provides needed nutrients for the immune system and prebiotics for the microbiome.

Exercise:

Increases immune competence, surveillance, and may delay aging of the immune system.

Stress Management:

Excessive stress can slow the function of both humoral and intracellular immunity.

Habitat and microbial balance:

Sanitize when needed but find balance in the biome of your surroundings to optimize immune function.

Clean air:

Use an air purifier that has been tested to remove viruses from the air.

Lifestyle factors have a powerful impact on our immune competence.

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