More Immune Tips

After I completed my doctorate in biochemistry I took a fellowship in immunology at the University of California and for many years taught PNI – psychoneuroimmunology – the meeting of mind and molecules. Think of your immune system as your healing system that engages all of you. And now I have a book out  Ultimate Immunity on managing your immune health from the perspective of your overall lifestyle written with dear friend and pioneer in integrative medicine, Elson Haas MD.

Here are some tips

  • Manage your stress by meditating, tai chi, dance taking a walk in nature, taking some deep breaths. This is a lifetime habit to get into. Chronic stress slows down your immune functions, in general. Actually chronic stress throws off the balance. Plus stress changes your micro biome (microbes in your gut) – they become hyperactive, which stimulates your immune cells to become unnecessarily aggressive.
  • Stay connected. Friends and family are good stress reducers, at least some of the time. Feeling loved and supported and giving that is an important factor in our well-being.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation may be one of the biggest factors in diminishing immune health. People who work shifts have to be especially careful.
  • Move everyday.  Exercise in moderation will get your immune cells moving and filtering out toxins plus benefit all the rest of your body and mind.
  • Stay balanced all year with the right food, nutrients, staying fit, sleep and supplements if needed. We don’t always want to boost immune functions. Too much is often more of a problem than too little.
  • Allow Laughter into your life.  Original research into mindbody – psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) showed that watching funny movies improved immune health.  Watching violence depressed it.  Limiting the nightly news will likely help your overall wellbeing.
  • Know your zinc. One very important nutrient that your immune cells require is zinc. Found in shellfish, oysters, seafood, almonds, nuts and seeds zinc is essential for antibody synthesis and T, B, and NK cell function. Deficient in zinc? You might have lost your sense of smell and taste.

Be good to your cells and they’ll be good to you. We call this an immune network because it basically includes all of you – immune cells and molecules, your mind and attitudes, emotions, what you eat, how you sleep, what nutrients you need, the quality of your relationships and so on.

One very important nutrient that your immune cells require is zinc.  Found in shellfish, oysters, seafood, almonds, nuts and seeds zinc is essential for antibody synthesis and T, B, and NK cell function.  Deficient in zinc? – you might have lost your sense of smell and taste.

The image at the top is a photomicrograph of a zinc salt magnified about 30 times.

Resources:

Carpenter S.  That gut feeling. Monitor on Psychology 43(8)2012, 50 http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

Cohen S et al.  Social ties and susceptibility to the common cold.  J. American Medical Assoc. 277 (1997) 1940-44.

Dardennne, M. Zinc and immune function.  European Journal  of Clinical Nutrition 56, Suppl.3 (2002):S20-S23.

Foster JA and Neufeld KA, Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci 2013 May;36(5):305-12. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.005. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Glaser, R., et al. (2000). Chronic stress modulates the immune response to a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62, 804-807.

J Kiecolt-Glaser.  Stress, Food, inflammation: psychoneuroimmunology and nutrition at the cutting edge. Psychosomatic Medicine 72(2010): 365-69.doi:10.1097/PSY.ob013e318dbf489.

Haas E and Barrett S.  Ultimate Immunity (2015), New York, Rodale – in Notes pp313-331.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

Matzner et al, Resilience of the immune system in healthy young students to 30-hour sleep deprivation. Neuroimmunomodulation 20 (2013): 194-204.doi:10.1159/000348698

 


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