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How Does Your Immune System Protect You?

How Does Your Immune System Protect You?

Many people are aware of what your immune system does, because it’s essentially in the name. It provides the rest of your body with immunity to things like diseases and illnesses.

However, a crucial part of understanding things is not just knowing what they do, but also how they do it. Many people don’t have a clear idea of how exactly their immune systems are helping you stave off viruses, but it’s an important part of understanding your own reactions to illness and what your body needs to keep protecting itself.

One of the most common things that you’ll find your immune system doing to protect you is giving you a fever. While most people associate fevers with being a bad thing, minor fevers can actually help you.

Your body will raise its temperature in order to kill off the virus in your body, which can’t survive well under higher temperatures. Higher fevers can be quite dangerous still, so keep track of your temperature in case it gets too high.

Another response your body has to foreign bodies is the use of white blood cells. White blood cells are sort of the enforcers of your body, taking out any kinds of harmful microorganisms that it finds.

When you get sick, some white blood cells will attach themselves to the organisms to weaken them, while others will attack them directly to try to kill them off. These cells will then learn about the type of organisms they fought off, and that’s how you build up an immunity in the future.

You might find that one uncomfortable symptom of getting sick is that you might have certain parts of your body get inflamed. Inflammation is uncomfortable and annoying, and might be a sign of an infection, but it’s also a part of your body’s immune system.

When bacteria enters your body, it will travel through your blood vessels in order to spread. By inflaming portions of your body, you’re able to constrict the blood vessels in that area, making it more difficult for the infection to spread.

Additionally, the inflammation alerts your white blood cells that there is an infection, making the response much quicker to try to get rid of it. While many of your body’s reactions to illnesses might be annoying, uncomfortable, and gross, it can certainly benefit you in the long run. It’s important to keep your immune system well maintained so that it can continue to keep up these functions to prevent a serious illness.

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Understanding the 5 Parts of Your Immune System

Understanding the 5 Parts of Your Immune System

While fully understanding the different systems of your body can be difficult, it’s a bit easier if you break them down into their individual components. When it comes to your immune system, there are five main parts of it that you need to know about.

All of these parts work together to help your immune system keep you healthy and free of any serious illnesses. The first part of your immune system to understand, and arguably one of the most important, is your white blood cells.

These cells are the troopers in your body, responding directly to anything that it perceives as a threat in order to take it out and prevent it from doing any additional damage.

There are two main types, each of which has a different function when attacking foreign cells. One type will attach on to the opposing cell and weaken it, while the other will attack it directly in an attempt to kill it off.

The part of your immune system that helps the white blood cells is the complement system. This system basically boosts the effectiveness of the white blood cells in a few different ways.

One thing it does is send out signals for the white blood cells to eat the microorganisms that they take out, allowing them to clear them out of the system. Additionally, it’s the system that causes inflammation, which weakens disease cells.

Finally, when it comes to bacterial threats, it can rupture the membrane protecting it, which allows the cells to easily attack them. Your lymphatic system is a crucial part of your immune system, but is also a component of your circulatory system.

Throughout various blood vessels, the lymphatic system helps them transport certain things through the blood stream. Of course this is important for a variety of reasons, but when it comes to your immune system, this is essentially the highway which transports and directs white blood cells through your blood stream so that they can get to the infection site and do their job.

Bone marrow is a very important component of your body because it’s what produces the white blood cells that your body will use. It additionally creates red blood cells and platelets, which is what hardens and clots up to help stop bleeding.

Finally, there’s the spleen, which helps filter your blood. This removes any microorganisms found in your blood, and it also helps your immune system by creating things like antibodies, which help in the fight against diseases. 

How a Sugar Detox Might Be the Immune System Strengthener You Need

How a Sugar Detox Might Be the Immune System Strengthener You Need

Many people eat a lot more sugar than they should. With fast food and processed foods being so common nowadays, sugar has been added to almost everything to give it the flavor that you want, but it comes with a lot of serious side effects.

In addition to the obvious weight gain, excessive sugar can also cause breakouts of acne, hormone imbalance, and can even damage your immune system. By detoxing your system of any sugar, you can bring your immune system back up to full strength.

For those that are unaware or unfamiliar, a sugar detox involves going about two weeks or more without any sugar, so that your body can get any sugar out of the system and bring you back to normal levels.

For some people that are used to eating and drinking a lot of sugary things, this can actually be quite difficult, because sugar is addictive in nature. One of the reasons that sugar weakens your immune system is that it slows down the production of cells that are crucial to your immune system, namely white blood cells.

When your body has an excessive amount of sugar, you’re going to see a substantial drop in the amount of white blood cells, meaning any diseases that come into your body will experience much less resistance when they start to spread, leading to you becoming sick easily.

Sugar has also been found to be closely tied with the release of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Not only will this cause you to be more stressed out and anxious, but it will also hold your immune system back and slow it down so that it’s less effective when coming across a virus or bacterial infection.

It’s recommended to cut out all processed sugary foods, because those can absolutely tank your immune system down to about half of its usual efficiency. Instead, you should get very little sugar naturally through fruits and vegetables, which also come with a wide array of vitamins and minerals that will help your immune system rather than hinder it.

Going on a sugar detox is great for your immune system, body, and mind. It helps you lose weight, reduces stress, and keeps your white blood cell count high so that they can do their job when a virus or infection tries to get the best of you. 

Can Essential Oils Boost Your Immune System?

Can Essential Oils Boost Your Immune System?

Essential oils have been somewhat controversial in recent years. While some people swear by them, others have denounced them as being scams. There’s some validity to both sides.

While some have had genuine success in using oils, there are people out there who market it to do way more than it actually can. Essential oils can help with a lot, but not everything.

Many people wonder whether or not these oils can help boost your immune system. Currently, the extent of the effect of oils on your immune system hasn’t been very well researched.

It’s still a fairly new scientific endeavor, even though people have been using them for years. Some recent studies have suggested that some essential oils do provide their fair share of benefits, while others might not be all that they’ve made themselves out to be.

One essential oil that research has found to be beneficial is eucalyptus oil. Tests showed that it helped reduce swelling and helped kill off bacteria, assisting in the fight against infections.

They found that it helped significantly in the respiratory system, which means that it could be used to help fend off strep and possibly keep pneumonia away. It’s most recommended to take it via inhalation, using a diffuser to get it circulating in the air.

In a similar sense to regular ginger, ginger oil was also found to be helpful when it comes to sickness. Much like eucalyptus oil, it showed that it could effectively reduce swelling and help kill bacteria, though its area of effect was centered more on gut health than respiratory health.

This means that it can be helpful in calming an upset stomach among other things, and it didn’t seem to upset any of the naturally occurring healthy gut bacteria that you want to have.

Many people seem to misunderstand the point of essential oils. You have to use them properly, by diluting them the right amount and by taking them the right way. Consuming too high of a concentration can be dangerous, but as long as you follow the instructions you’ll be just fine.

Essential oils do that same thing for your immune system that eating certain fruits and vegetables does: they boost your immune system. This does not mean that they’re a guaranteed solution for an existing illness, but they can just help prevent it from occurring in the first place. If you do get sick, you should still seek medical attention if it’s serious. 

Are Multivitamins Effective in Boosting Your Immune System?

Are Multivitamins Effective in Boosting Your Immune System?

Many people are aware that vitamins are a big part of keeping your immune system working properly. From vitamin C to B6, they all play some kind of role in keeping your body disease free.

Many people get these vitamins from food, but others opt to get them from pills and gummies. Instead of taking a bunch of individual pills for the various vitamins you need, many have chosen to take one multivitamin pill, which contains all kinds of different vitamins in just one tablet.

Many researchers say that as long as you have a fairly healthy diet, you should be getting enough of most of your vitamins anyway. If you have a poor diet, it’s probably best to actually just fix that instead of trying to supplement it with multivitamins.

Fixing your diet will help you lose weight and have a healthier heart, something that multivitamins will not do. While vitamins do certainly have their role, supplemented vitamins may not truly boost your immune system as well as natural methods, like getting them from fruit.

These researchers claim that you should be practicing a variety of other immune system hygiene in order to keep the viruses away in the first place. Overall, the consensus seems to be that multivitamins certainly won’t hurt you, but you can’t exactly expect to take them and have your immune system be impenetrable.

If you do take them and you have some sort of vitamin deficiency, then they will help keep your immune system operating well, but you should also be combining them with other methods of keeping yourself healthy, like proper hygiene and an improved nutritional plan.

This entire concept still requires more research to be done on the matter, as many scientists are still unsure of how exactly everything interacts with one another on such a microscopic scale.

They may be more effective than we currently know, so taking them is not a bad idea. You just can’t expect them to make you impervious to diseases. Strike a balance between good habits and supplementing whatever your body is lacking.

You can find out what’s lacking by getting a blood panel drawn. If you’re low in certain vitamins, then you can either start taking a multi vitamin or supplement that one individual element instead. Ask your doctor for the most effective multi vitamin for you, depending on your gender and age, as well as your specific needs for supplementation in a certain area. 

Should You Get a Blood Test to See How Strong Your Immune System Is?

Should You Get a Blood Test to See How Strong Your Immune System Is?

Many people are worried as to whether or not their immune system is up to par, and don’t want to wait until they get exposed to a disease to find out. In order to test your immune system, you can get a blood test that will analyze just how well your immune system is working so that you can get a better idea of how prone you will or won’t be to getting infected by various diseases.

One of the things that gets checked in a blood test is your amount of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting diseases as well as tagging cells to be taken out, which is a crucial part of the immune system.

If you don’t have enough white blood cells, you’re going to have a much weaker immune system than the average person, and will likely need to change something in your diet or start taking some kind of supplements to fix it.

The blood test will also check for immunoglobulin, or antibodies as they’re more commonly known. These are another essential component of your immune system. These proteins are made specifically to attack a certain type of disease, or antigen.

When they come across them, the antibody will mark or disable the antigen, allowing the white blood cells to come in and do their job much easier. These are easily checked for with a simple blood test.

There are a few entirely different blood tests that can be carried out for expecting mothers, in order to predict whether or not their child will be born with an autoimmune disease.

By knowing whether or not they have such a disease, their chances of survival will increase drastically. Autoimmune diseases are very dangerous for young children if they’re not treated.

These prenatal tests often involve genetics, because autoimmune diseases are passed down through blood. Others can involve samples of blood taken from the mother, or samples of amniotic fluid.

By knowing whether or not the child is going to be at risk of developing an autoimmune disease, you’re going to be able to take action quickly and prevent them from getting hit too hard by it.

Some clinics, if you can find them, are willing to test your immune system with a blood test in order to better study the effects of certain immune-boosting solutions, and you might even receive financial compensation for your time. 

Signs That Your Immune System Is Too Weak

Signs That Your Immune System Is Too Weak

Your immune system is one of the most crucial systems in your body. It essentially directs certain cells around your body to fend off any foreign bodies that might have entered it, such as viruses and bacteria.

It fights these illnesses in many ways, from using white blood cells to raising your body temperature, like when you have a fever, in order to kill off a virus. This is all great when you have a strong immune system, but if you have a weak one, it can lead to many problems for you.

Having a weak immune system is certainly something to worry about, so you need to know the signs to look out for to see if you might have a weaker than average immune system.

There are different symptoms to look out for and different diseases that you might already have that will substantially lower your immune system. The diseases that lower your immune system are well known and you’ll know that if you have these, you’ll have a reduced immunity.

For example, HIV and AIDS are both auto-immune diseases, meaning that they damage and lower your immune system without some kind of treatment. Certain cancers will also lower your immunity, and you can be born with immunity deficiency disorders, which is something that you may have had to deal with your whole life.

One symptom that you have a weak immune system is that you’ll repeatedly and frequently get the same infections multiple times. For many people, infections are rare and typically only happen a few times throughout their lives.

However, if you frequently contract things like pneumonia or strep throat, then you’re probably at a higher risk of a weakened immune system. Another very common symptom is frequent digestive problems.

Things like frequent stomach aches, lack of appetite, or even diarrhea could mean that your immune system is weak. This is because a significant portion of your immune system is based around your digestive system, so if your digestive system is giving you a lot of problems, it could be that your immune system isn’t doing its job right.

For some people, low energy is a sign of a poor immune system. This is because your body is expending a lot of energy in keeping your immune system up to par, much more than other people typically would have to. If you’re getting enough sleep and still feeling tired all day, this might be the issue. 

What’s the Fastest Way to Boost Your Immune System?

What’s the Fastest Way to Boost Your Immune System?

People are typically interested in just figuring out how they can get their immune system up as fast as possible, because they’re usually only looking for information on it when things are starting to go wrong.

There are lots of things that you can do in order to boost your immune system quickly, though some of them take some time to make a considerable difference. There’s rarely one guaranteed way to get your immune system boosted overnight, but by doing multiple immune boosting things at the same time, it should improve rather quickly.

One thing that you can do to rapidly improve your immune system is change your sleep schedule. This can be done in one night, and the effects of it will come about within a few days of maintaining a good sleep schedule.

Without proper sleep, your body can’t do many of the important functions that it needs to for your immune system. Be sure to get around 8 hours of sleep per night in order to keep your immune system running strong.

Another way to swiftly improve your immune system is to reduce your alcohol consumption. Those who are prone to heavy or consistent drinking have been shown to have seriously compromised immune systems, but the damage done to those immune systems is reversible.

By cutting back significantly, you can expect to see results in just a day or two. Practicing good hygiene can be done at any time and greatly reduces your chances of getting infected.

Washing your hands thoroughly, refraining from touching your face, and generally keeping things clean is the key to keeping viruses and bacteria out of your body. By denying them any initial entry to begin with, you don’t even have to hope for your immune system to put in the work.

Switching over your diet can be done fairly swiftly, though it can be hard for some people. Ideally for your immune system, you’d want a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, so that you can get the micronutrients that you need to keep your immune system running. With an unhealthy diet, your immune system will be weaker and unable to deal with viruses as well.

The best way to keep your immune system healthy is to consistently maintain these practices. If you just boost your immune system every time you start to feel sick or start to get worried, you’re likely still going to get infected every now and then.

HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO CORONAVIRUS?

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Nicholas Christakis about the coronavirus pandemic. They discuss the likely effects on society, proactive vs reactive school closures, community transmission, false comparisons between coronavirus and flu, the imperative of social distancing, the timeline of the pandemic, Trump’s political messaging, the widespread distrust of expertise, the importance of “flattening the curve” of the epidemic, the possible failure of our healthcare system, gradations of personal response to this threat, and other topics.

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is the Sterling Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, where he directs the Human Nature Lab and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2006, the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society, and known for his research in the areas of social networks, biosocial science, behavior genetics, and public health.

here's the link to his website http://www.humannaturelab.net/

Click here ​ https://samharris.org/podcasts/190-respond-coronavirus/   to listen to this (free) essential episode

How Sleep Deprivation Wreaks Havoc on Your Body and Mind

How Sleep Deprivation Wreaks Havoc on Your Body and Mind

Getting enough sleep is essential to both your body and your mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you might not notice the effects - if you only miss one night of getting the right amount.

But go more than one night of not getting enough sleep and your body and your mind start to pay a price for it. Of course, the first thing you’ll notice is that you’re feeling tired and sleepy.

Sleep acts as a restoration period for the body and mind. It restores and replenishes the body, heals aching muscles and can soothe aches and pains. Without the right amount of sleep, we run our energy level into a deficit.

Sleep deprivation then beings to show up in three ways: mentally, emotionally and physically. Mentally, the brain becomes affected with a lack of sleep and this shows up in trouble remembering even simple tasks.

It causes you to begin to forget important data. You might have trouble following what you’re supposed to do at work or what’s going on with your family. As the sleep deprivation continues, you’ll lose more cognitive ability.

When you’re driving, you’ll react slower to traffic signals, the moves of other vehicles and you’ll be at increased risk of causing or being unable to avoid an accident. You won’t be able to concentrate or pay attention. 

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You’ll become disoriented and if the sleep deprivation isn’t stopped. You may begin to experience hallucinations. You’ll make more mistakes, and if others are depending on you at work or home, those mistakes could have serious repercussions. You may start to experience short-term memory loss. 

Sleep deprivation shows up emotionally, too. You may become irritable even for no reason. You may be angry and take that out on others. You can experience anxiety and depression. 

Studies have shown that getting enough sleep is closely tied with emotional well-being. Sleep deprivation can cause you to engage in behavior you wouldn’t normally do, like taking foolish risks with your safety or engaging in heated fights with others.

Another way that sleep deprivation wreaks havoc is in the body. You will become clumsy and less coordinated. You may start to drop things without warning. You’ll experience muscle aches, pains and spasms. 

A lack of sleep that’s caused by a sleep disorder can cause painful charley horses to occur. With a loss of sleep, your blood pressure begins to climb and your stress level mounts. Your organs can become affected. 

You’ll put on weight - and sleep deprivation elevates your chance of having a stroke, heart attack or developing diabetes. Because sleep deprivation weakens your immune system, you can lose the ability to fight off even a simple virus. 

Not getting enough sleep can cause muscle weakness, eye problems, slurred speech and an inability to communicate. If you’re experiencing sleep deprivation, don’t wait until you begin experiencing severe symptoms to seek a solution. 

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