The immune system protects the body from dangerous elements like viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses. An immune system is surprisingly complex and needs to be strong and refined enough to fight various diseases and infections. Yet, it is not so strong that it overreacts unnecessarily, causing allergies and other autoimmune disorders to develop. To operate in such a delicate balance, one must tightly control the immune system.
Antibodies are most naturally found in our blood, and it helps us to fight infection. Monoclonal antibodies (MABs) therapies impersonate natural antibodies. MABs work as immunotherapy in diverse ways; some Monoclonal antibodies work in more than one way:
● It provokes the immune system to combat and kill virus cells
● It acts on cells to boost the immune system attacks on virus cells
However, despite its complexity, some various everyday lifestyles and habits can be worked upon to improve your immune health that a body needs for fighting off an infection or an illness.
How the Immune System Works?
● Pathogens: Microbes that can contaminate and poison the body, causing illness.
● Antigens: Proteins identified on the surface of pathogens.
● Antibodies: Antibodies are healthy proteins that can locate and bind with particular antigens.
When an antibody identifies the antigen of an invading pathogen, it binds itself to it firmly. Once attached, it acts as a light, signalling other immune system elements to combat the attacking viruses.
Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System against Corona Virus
Following are five science-backed approaches to ensure that your immune system has everything it requires to operate optimally:
1. Maintain a healthy diet
As with most things in your body, a healthy diet is the core of a healthy immune system. Ensure you eat plenty of green vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and fruit. The immune system depends on nutrient-dense whole foods to function well.
Get started by cutting down on sugar that suppresses the immune system and start eating more vegetables. In addition to giving your immune system the strength and energy it needs, a healthy diet can ensure that you’re getting sufficient quantities of the micronutrients that play a role in sustaining your immune response. Following are a few examples:
- Vitamin B6 can be obtained by including chicken, salmon, tuna, bananas, leafy green vegetables, and potatoes in your diet.
- Vitamin C can be found in vegetables and fruits, like oranges, strawberries, papayas, blackcurrants, broccoli, spinach, kale, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin E is found in sunflower oil, almond oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach.
Experts believe that a body consumes vitamins more efficiently from dietary sources than supplements; the best way to strengthen an immune system is to consume a well-balanced diet.
2. Sunlight –Vitamin D is critical for immune function and plays a crucial role in promoting immune response. It has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties and is essential for the activation of immune system defences. Vitamin D is known to enhance the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages that protect your body against pathogens.
Recent studies have indicated that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had sufficient vitamin D levels had a decreased risk for adverse outcomes and death.
Vitamin D deficiency is known to enhance a process known as the “cytokine storm”. Cytokines are proteins that are an integral part of the immune system. They can have pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects and play essential roles, helping protect against infection and disease.
A cytokine storm refers to the uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that occurs in response to infection or other factors. This dysregulated and excessive release of cytokines leads to severe tissue damage and enhances disease progression and severity. It is a major cause of multiple organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and an important factor in the progression and severity of COVID-19.
Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this vitamin. Spending 10 to 15 minutes in the sun every other day (longer for those with darker skin) will significantly increase your Vitamin D levels.
Eating more fish and eggs are also a major source that is high in vitamin D supplements; the following are some examples:
- Cod liver oil — 1 teaspoon has 453 IU of vitamin D
- Salmon — 3 ounces has 447 IU
- Tuna — 3 ounces has 154 IU
- Sardines — 2 fillets have 46 IU
- Eggs – 1 large egg has 41 IU
3. Get plenty of sleep- Not many people are aware, but the right amount of sleep works wonders for the body mentally and physically. Your body recuperates and restores itself when you are sleeping. One of the best things you can do to boost the immune system is by prioritizing quality sleep. To begin with, you can get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Sleep quality can be improved by:
- Reducing blue light exposure in the evening – limit the use of mobile phone / TV before bed. Install an app that blocks blue light on your smartphone and laptop
- Avoid/reduce caffeine intake in the evenings
- Optimize your sleeping environment –darkness, temperature, comfortable pillow and mattress
- Don’t eat late – Eating late at night can negatively affect both sleep quality and the natural release of melatonin
- Avoid alcohol – it alters nighttime melatonin production, which plays a vital role in the body’s circadian rhythm
4. Move your body- Regular exercise assists in boosting the immune system. Physical activity isn’t only to build muscles and help yourself de-stress; it’s also essential to maintain a healthy immune system and healthy lifestyle. However, you also need to ensure not to over-train.
Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. It is important for helping the body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress, such as exercise.
In short bursts, elevated cortisol is good because it elevates blood sugar levels to improve brain function and prepare the body for action. Cortisol levels typically increase in the early morning hours just before waking. This prepares your brain and your body for waking activities and helps get you out of bed.
However, chronically elevated cortisol levels associated with overtraining lead to suppressed immune system function and reduced exercise capacity. Over time, high levels may cause weight gain, high blood pressure, disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce your energy levels and contribute to diabetes.
5. Reduce stress levels- Although you should practice lowering your stress levels year-round, practising amid this virus outbreak is significant as stress directly affects your immune system. Find ways to reduce chronic stress levels by meditating, exercising, and controlled breathing techniques.
6. Cold Showers – Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower increases the number of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. Researchers believe that this process is related to an increased metabolic rate, which stimulates the immune response.
7. Weight Management – Recent studies in humans and animal models affected by obesity have shown an impaired immune response or immune function leading to increased chances for various infections.
Obesity itself has been shown to impair immunity in some studies. Some of these specific findings include:
- Decreased cytokine production
- Altered monocyte and lymphocyte function
- Natural killer cell dysfunction
- Reduced macrophage and dendritic cell function
- Decreased response to antigen/mitogen stimulation
Diets high in sugar and artificial trans fats, or eating too many calories in general, make you more prone to infection. This is because it can lead to increases in blood sugar or may cause oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is an overproduction of reactive oxygen species compared to the body’s ability to detoxify cells. This type of damage from oxygen increases your chances of infection.
Eating healthier and incorporating moderate exercise can help to improve immune function. It is known that obesity itself decreases immunity leading to an increased risk of bacterial and viral infections and decreased responsiveness to some vaccinations.
The good news is that several studies have shown an increase in immune responsiveness and improvements after weightloss or following dietary restriction.
Immune System and Age
As we age, our immune response decreases, giving rise to more diseases and cancer. As life expectancy has advanced in developing countries, so has the incidence of age-related ailments. While some people may age healthily compared to younger people, the elderly are prone to contract contagious and transmissible diseases through respiratory tract infections and have a high possibility of dying from them.
Respiratory infections, including influenza, pneumonia, and mainly, COVID-19 virus, are a principal cause of death in people over the age of 65 worldwide. While viruses remain a mystery as to why this happens, some scientists observe that this increased risk corresponds with a drop in T cells, perhaps from the thymus atrophying with age and producing lesser immune cells to fight the infection.
It is not fully understood whether the decrease in thymus function defines the drop in T cells or whether other differences play a role. White blood cells are significant players in a person’s immune system. They move through blood and tissue all through the body, seeking foreign microbes like parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Monoclonal antibodies attract natural immune system functions to fight cancer.
Diet and your immune system
Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Nutritional shortcomings make us more responsive to viruses and bacteria, so it is vital to eat nutritious foods that maintain a healthy immune system. Experts have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
For instance, researchers do not know whether dietary factors, such as processed foods or high doses of sugar intake, will negatively affect immune function. Comparatively, there are still very few studies on the impacts of nourishment on the immune system of humans.
Immune System Limitations against COVID-19
It is essential to understand that a healthy immune system will not stop you from contracting COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is a novel pathogen, which means those who contract it have no existing immunoglobulins to position a defence. Thus, it is necessary to continue practising cough etiquette, maintaining social distance, and good hand hygiene(washing your hands).
Nevertheless, developing a strong immune system while you are healthy can support your body as it adapts itself to the new virus if you fall ill. Taking preventive steps to boost your immune wellness can also help you fight other common bugs such as common colds or flu viruses.
More research is needed, but it’s considered that nutrition, regular exercise, and activity, psychological and emotional wellbeing can benefit your immune system to strengthen your immune system.
Contact Helvetica Health Care to learn more about Monoclonal antibodies and Covid-19 vaccine-related products.