Give It A Boost: Your Immune System Will Thank You!
May2020 Issue - Pink Prescriptions
Give It A Boost: Your Immune System Will Thank You!
Your health is your greatest wealth. No doubt, no one wants to be sick, and people with great
wealth have never been able to pay their way out of death. Great health is the foundation of our quality of life; a strong immune system is the foundation of great health. It is the your frontline defense against illness, so the stronger it is, the stronger you are. Let’s find out more on how to boost your immune system to Herculean strength.
How does Sleep strengthen my immune system?
by C. David Sudduth, M.D. & Sarah Mobbs, FNP-BC,
Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Pulmonary Medicine
It is best to invest in rest! During sleep, the body’s immune system produces necessary proteins called cytokines to help aid in infection prevention. Cytokines are required to help target infections and inflammation. There are different cytokines for inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses by the body, and both are produced and released during sleep. An appropriate balance of cytokines is necessary to allow for immune cells to identify problematic “bugs” within the body. T-cells are the immune cells necessary for fighting off known infectious agents, such as a viruses, because they adhere to them to help destroy them. When quality sleep occurs, other interfering hormones are decreased, which allows for the anti- and pro-cytokines to be at their best, and thus the T-cells can “easily” find and destroy the problem.
This may be one reason why people sleep when they are sick. The body’s immune system is trying to destroy the virus as it is designed to do. Having too little sleep will not allow the body to do so.
Sleeping in times of stress, such as a pandemic, can be difficult. Sleep onset may be easier to achieve in a cool dark room with no television or computer use before bed, or with the aid of natural sleep-inducing aids such as melatonin or herbal (caffeine free) tea.
It is important to remember that most stress related sleep disruption is temporary, but if it persists more than three weeks you should discuss it with your doctor.
C. David Sudduth, M.D., is a board-certified internal medicine physician at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Pulmonary Medicine; 912.466.5504; and Medical Director, Sleep Management Centers, Southeast Georgia Health System; Brunswick. Call 912.466.5320.
Sarah Mobbs, FNP-BC, is a family nurse practitioner with Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Pulmonary Medicine, Brunswick. Call 912.466.5504.
How does Exercise strengthen my immune system?
by Harold L. Kent, MD, Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More
Research by David Nieman, DrPH, of Appalachian State University, shows people who walk 40 minutes per day at 70 to 75 percent of their VO2 Max (being able to speak/converse while walking) experience half as many sick days because of sore throats or colds as people who don't exercise. It is not known with certainty exactly how, or if exercise increases immunity to certain illnesses, but there are several theories:
1) Moderate exercise increases the circulation of white blood cells through the body and causes a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, which are cells that attack bacteria.
2) Physical exercise may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, and the brief rise in body temperature may help prevent bacteria from growing.
3) Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones, resulting in a lower level of these hormones, which may help to protect against illness.
4) After exercise ends the immune system returns to normal in a few hours, but consistent regular exercise may make these changes more long lasting.
5) Heart and lung function are improved through regular exercise and the risk of developing heart disease is reduced. Strength training also helps to increase bone density and balance.
On the downside, heavy, long-term exercise can decrease immune function and cause harm.
Harold L. Kent, MD, Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick. Call 912-264-9724 or got to Georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa.
How does using essential nutritional supplements strengthen my immune system?
by Diane G. Bowen, MD, Centered on Wellness
In this challenging time, it is possible to support and even optimize your immune system through lifestyle choices, including key nutritional supplements. Elevated stress levels can contribute to increased anxiety, and therefore, deplete your immune system. The bodies’ physiological response to stress is the same in every person. The familiar “fight, flight or freeze” describes our initial protective responses, but unless that challenge is quickly resolved, our bodies transition to a more complex and damaging stress response headquartered in our adrenals. This causes elevated levels of cortisol, our main stress hormone resulting in many things like elevated heart rate, increase blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels. All of this equates to compromising the health of our immune systems. So how do we prepare?
There are stress reducing nutritional essentials that can help you to fight the good fight. There are four essential vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements I recommend, which can help you better weather the storm and deal with stress:
Vitamin D: Necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system and plays a critical role in promoting immune response. Vitamin D has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. I suggest in addition to taking a Vitamin D supplement, you should get outside daily for a walk as a great way to get some of this key sunshine vitamin. During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, sunshine therapy via an outdoor recovery unit reduced mortality by almost 200 percent.
Magnesium: Keeps the immune system strong, helps strengthen muscles and bones and supports many body functions from cardiac to brain functions. In addition, Magnesium helps the muscles to relax, this includes the small muscles in your arteries and heart. Unless you have kidney disease, you could easily benefit from taking an additional 400-600 mg of Magnesium daily.
Selenium: Plays an important role in the health of your immune system. It is an antioxidant that helps lower oxidative stress in your body, which reduces inflammation and enhances your immunity. The sweet spot for Selenium is somewhere between 200-300 micrograms, or 3 to 4 brazil nuts.
Zinc: Is needed for immune cell development and communication between cells. It plays an important role in inflammatory response as well as significantly affecting your immune system’s ability to function properly. Adding about 40 mg of zinc to your regimen would be very beneficial in warding off colds and viruses.
Diane G. Bowen, MD, is owner of Centered on Wellness – 1015 Arthur J. Moore Dr., SSI. Available now for personal virtual appointments to achieve your optimum wellness. Call 912.638.0034. Dr. Bowen is also owner of Golden Isles Center for Plastic Surgery at the same location; 912.634.1993.