Everybody knows the human immune system will respond in a positive manner when you exercise and eat healthy. A recent article by Harvard School Health Publications on How to boost your immune system stated the following:
On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and make your immune system stronger? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?
The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.
But that doesn’t mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied. Quite a number of researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, herbal supplements, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. Although interesting results are emerging, thus far they can only be considered preliminary. That’s because researchers are still trying to understand how the immune system works and how to interpret measurements of immune function. The following sections summarize some of the most active areas of research into these topics. In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
We all like to hope that we are doing right by our body when we eat healthy and exercise. It is really a no-brainer or common sense that they are related. However, it does make one feel good about lifestyle choices when science backs up our hunches and thought patterns.
In an article written by Michael Sleezak, “No need to starve to get fasting’s immune benefits” in the online magazine “New Scientist”, the following information on exercise and your immune system is shared:
Exercising hard or not eating for a while can alter the immune system’s behavior, suppressing some types of inflammatory response. That, in turn, seems to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and autoimmune conditions. But what triggers the change in the immune response has not been clear.
When starved of glucose, its usual energy source, the body can make an alternative in the shape of chemicals called ketones. To find out if one of these suppresses inflammation, Vishwa Deep Dixit from the Yale School of Medicine doused human immune cells with various ketones. When he upped the dose of a ketone called BHB to the level you’d expect after two days of fasting, the inflammatory response fell away.
Other ketones produced during fasting had no effect, suggesting that BHB is responsible for lowering inflammation.
What’s more, BHB seemed to have a very specific effect, only dampening certain undesirable inflammatory reactions, leaving other useful ones alone.
Personally, I feel that this new research shows what we have all suspected for years, eating properly and exercising is critical to a healthy body. Your immune system is impacted tremendously, if you are healthy. Having a well toned body and feeling good is just an added benefit.
I hope that you are even more motivated to get out and exercise after reading these two studies. As my favorite trainer, Tony Little always says: You Can Do It!!!