Now more than ever, it’s important for us to be our healthiest, which is why it’s essential to support our immune system. The immune system is made up of various cells, organs, proteins and tissues- its general function is to protect your body against diseases and other foreign bodies such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. Humans have three types of immunity including: Innate immunity, a type of general protection everyone is born with, Adaptive immunity, active immunity that develops throughout our lives and Passive immunity, which is provided when a person is given antibodies to a disease instead of producing them through their own immune system.
We spoke with expert Dr. Shannon Bennett, on what can affect our immune system and things we can do to strengthen it.
Q: What can cause a weakened immune system?
Stress Levels- Thanks 2020! Need I say more? Between typical life stress, pandemic stress, work from home and trying to plan the holidays — we are one stressed nation. One of the main ways stress impacts our immune system is by raising cortisol which suppresses our immune response.
Lack of Immune Stimulation- This one might surprise a few people, but it's a real thing! Have you ever heard someone boast, "I haven’t been sick in 3 years, not even a cold!" well that actually can be a sign of a weakened immune system. We should be getting at least a cold annually. Sometimes we can be too sick to even get sick.
Lack of Rest- This could be due to anxiety keeping you up at night, restless mind, insomnia due to another medical condition, too much caffeine in the day or it might be a level of mental and physical unrest in your life. Pressing the gas with caffeine all day and then pumping the breaks with something to knock you out is not sufficient rest. Being still allows us to rest in our soul, our minds and our physical body.
Chronic Diseases and Infections- Much of our health is like a bucket. If we're stressed, not sleeping, overworking, on top of having a chronic disease -- our bucket is overflowing. Our system can get so bogged down with trying to manage the chronic illness that it has a weakened response to common colds, viruses and other pathogens.
Q: What are 5 ways to keep your immune system strong?
Manage Your Stress- What does that even mean? It doesn't mean stop stressing. Not everyone can just quit their job and spend a week at the spa. But what we CAN do is manage the stress we have. Think of yourself as the Head Manager of your own personal stress factory. You might need to 'fire' a few people or things from your life, you might need to outsource and delegate some tasks to free up your time. You might need to implement some new protocols, like nightly baths, 10 minute meditations, and turning down extracurriculars, until the busy season is over. But you are the boss of your life and your health, so make those executive decisions to manage the stress! With the holidays coming up, this is a perfect time to practice.
Challenge Your Immune System- There is a reason babies want to stick everything in their mouths. This builds their body's exposure to bugs, bacteria and viruses, teaching their immune system to learn friend from foe. As an adult, small exposures to a diversity of microbes help keep our defenses sharp. I'm not suggesting to go eat dirt- but it might be worthwhile to not have everything 100% sanitized every second of every day. Newer studies are showing that some bacteria are becoming resistant to some sanitizers. Sometimes too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. So play in the dirt a little and let your immune system get stimulated just a little. Gardening is a great way to do this and it has the bonus of reducing stress too!
Keep Things Moving- Make sure your system is releasing toxins and pathogens as it should. Are you pooping, peeing, sweating, and moving the flow of toxins regularly? In addition to those internal processes, make sure you are moving your body! Get outside for some sun and Vitamin D, circadian rhythm strengthening, green exposure and moving a stagnant body.
Minimizing Inflammatory Exposures- Alcohol, stress, sugar, even some people, can be too inflammatory for our system. Minimize the things that are known to promote inflammation by taking stock of your diet and habits. A diet diary is a good way to take a glance at your diet. Since we often forget what we even had for breakfast, it’s a good idea to write your meals down for a few days so you can see what is working and what isn’t in your diet. Bonus if you write down any symptoms you have so you can see if there are any connections to those foods you’re eating.
Nutrients- Make sure your nutrients are at optimized levels. Between halloween candy and thanksgiving treats we can skimp on the important nutrients that build up our immune system. Nothing beats a variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet. A good rule of thumb is that 50% of your plate should consist of colorful veggies.
We made our new Immune CBD Capsules with all of this in mind. Formulated with CBD isolate and immune boosting ingredients such as Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, Elderberry and Skullcap, these capsules work to supercharge your immune system so it can properly defend your body against invaders.
“I love the immune caps for the simplicity and amazing ingredients. Vitamin C is used by our immune cells as its main ammo. Many of our white blood cells use Vitamin C to directly kill pathogens, which helps us have shorter and less severe illnesses. Zinc is another great nutrient that is a building block for many immune cells and can help prevent viruses from adhering to our cells. Sambucus (or Elderberry) is a commonly used herb that has anti-viral and anti-histamine properties, it’s helpful in times of cold and flu with fever. Scutellaria (Skullcap) is a great herb for the nervous system, especially on those nights you can’t get to sleep due to a cough, fever and body aches keeping you up. All in all this is a great blend!”- Dr. Bennett
The learn more about Dr. Bennet, connect with her here.