The Virus Series: Supporting the Immune System

Immune System

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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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