The immune system acts as the body’s primary line of defense against disease. As such, a decline in immune function often results in greater occurrence and increased severity of sickness. Unfortunately, many people overlook or do not recognize when their immune system is not working at its best leaving them more exposed to illness. Resolving this issue requires that people be familiar with the signs of a weakened immune system and implement effective ways of supporting its function.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is a collection of cells, tissues, and organs whose primary goal is keeping the body safe from antigens that cause disease. When working as intended the immune system identifies dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites then eliminates them through the release of antibodies. However, if the immune system is weak, it may not be able to respond appropriately thereby increasing the risk of contracting an illness.
The immune system may be weakened by a variety of factors including but not limited to poor diet, lack of sleep, chronic stress, genetic predispositions, exposure to toxins, and chronic illness. Other issues such as immunodeficiency, autoimmune disorders, and hypersensitivity can also contribute to poor immune function. Unfortunately, it is often the case that people do not identify immune weakness until serious issues develop.
Identifying Poor Immune Function
Part of the reason people have difficulty recognizing immune weakness is that they are unaware of the warning signs and indicators of poor immune function tend to be vague or easy to overlook. The best way to alleviate this issue is by becoming familiar with the signs of a weak immune function. Some of the most common indicators of poor immune function are discussed below.
The biggest warning sign of a weak immune system is increased susceptibility to infection. If you regularly catch colds or other illnesses that move through your community, it is likely that your immune system is not working at its best. Occasional sickness may not be cause for concern but being ill two to three times over 60 days is indicative of suboptimal immune function.
Chronic Digestive Issues
Gut health is often used as a metric for assessing immune function. This is in part due to the fact that upwards of 90 percent of the body’s immune system is contained within it. If your gut seems to be in a constant state of disruption, your immune system may also be suffering. Frequent intestinal issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation may indicate that your immune system is not working correctly.
Constant Fatigue and Discomfort
Although there are many reasons you may feel fatigued, one frequently overlooked is poor immune function. If you are always tired and experience symptoms such as aching joints and muscles, loss of appetite, and stomach issues, it is likely that your fatigue is related to poor immune function.
Recurrent Sinus and Ear Infections
Those who get more than two sinus infections or more than four ear infections on an annual basis are likely suffering from some degree of immune malfunction. In such situations, the immune system may either be producing too few of the cells needed to fight the infection, the cells are not being employed correctly or functioning properly.
Extended Duration of Sickness
If you find that colds or other illnesses tend to linger for extended periods (more than two to three days), a weak immune system is likely the cause. Elongated illness coupled with long-lasting fatigue is highly indicative of immune malfunction.
Slow Healing Wounds
Skin is a major component of the immune system. When external injuries such as a burn, cut, or scrape occur, the immune system responds by sending nutrient-rich blood to protect the region and generate new skin. Slow healing and lingering wounds may indicate a sluggish immune response and by extension a weakened immune system.
Easy Ways to Support Your Immune System
If you are experiencing any of the above issues, you may be suffering from some degree of immune weakness. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to strengthen your immune system. Employing the following lifestyle improvements may notably improve immune function.
Relax and Destress
Studies show that chronic stress can weaken and limit the body’s immune response. Interpersonal conflicts, excessive workload, and monetary issues tend to be major contributors to stress, which weakens the immune system. Resolving these and other sources of physiological stress can notably improve immune function. You can reduce stress by engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation, massage, yoga, gardening, and reading.
Exercise Regularly and Safely
Regular exercise is an important part of overall wellness. It also plays a major role in immune function. Engaging in appropriate physical activity releases endorphins which alleviate stress and supports overall bodily function. Keep in mind that those with a weakened immune system should focus on exercising at the appropriate intensity and frequency. Excessive or overly strenuous activity can further disrupt immune function.
Improve Sleep Quality
The National Sleep Foundation has found that sleep deprivation causes similar damage to immune function as chronic stress. Poor sleep quality also impedes white blood cell production which notably inhibits immune function. Ideally, adults get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep per night. You can improve sleep quality by keeping a regular sleep schedule, limiting sleep-disturbances such as light and loud noises, and keeping your sleep environment at a cool but comfortable level.
Improve Your Diet
Diet influences many areas of wellness including immune function. For example, regular consumption of highly processed food contributes to physiological stress and subsequent immune malfunction. Cutting out sugary and highly processed foods while eating more nutrient-rich foods such as grass-fed beef, and organic fruits and vegetables reduce stress on the immune system while also improving its function.
Protecting Wellness by Identifying and Responding to Immune Weakness
The immune system is an integral part of wellness. When not functioning at its best, the body can experience a wide range of dysfunction. Unfortunately, many do not recognize symptoms of immune weakness, meaning that it often goes overlooked. However, now that you are familiar with the signs of a weak immune system and how to better respond to it, you can take a more active role in restoring and protecting personal wellness.
At Holtorf Medical Group, our expert physicians utilize innovative treatments to strengthen your immune system. Give us a call at 877-508-1177 to learn about our peptide and immune supporting therapies, and see how we can help you!
Resources1. NIH. “Overview of the Immune System.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
2. InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-2010 Nov 24 [Updated 2019 Nov 7]. “How does the immune system work?” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/