You’ll Never Believe this One Trick Boosts Your Immune System

You’re sitting in the waiting room at your doctor’s office for a routine check-up, when a mother walks in, toting her visibly ill child. While looking at her child might make you reach for the hand-sanitizer—after all, no one likes being in enclosed spaces with contagious people—seeing her sick child might actually be good for you.

The Proof

According to the iO9 blog, studies have been done that show that just looking at photographs of people exhibiting symptoms of communicable disease can spike amounts of cytokines in the bloodstream. Cytokines are cell signaling molecules that aid in cell communication and the immune system’s response to infection, trauma, or inflammation. Cytokines are very diverse, having different functions, and can include proteins and peptides.

The kinds of cytokines produced when looking at sick people specifically fight infection. These cytokines include ones that specifically fight infection, and a kind that patrols for infected white blood cells and destroys them. Cytokines are a critical part of your body’s immune system, and having sufficient numbers of them in your bloodstream is important.

Other Tricks

Interesting, right? But if you’re looking to boost your cytokine numbers, there are other natural methods that don’t involve looking at sick people. One of those methods is AHCC®, a natural, unique extract derived from Japanese medicinal mushrooms. AHCC has been proven to help stimulate immune system function by increasing the production of cytokines, the number and activity of macrophages, T cells, and dendritic cells, all of which are types of white blood cells that search for and destroy harmful pathogens and abnormal cells. This helps the body identify and react to foreign invaders. AHCC has been proven to improve immune system function in over 20 human studies, and has been used extensively by immunocompromised patients.

Simple habits like maintaining a proper diet can also help your immune system. Diversifying your diet and including nutrient dense foods will supply your immune system with all of the necessary nutrients to keep functioning properly. A deficiency in one or several of these nutrients can greatly reduce the immune system’s efficiency, and increase the risk of infection and long-term disease. A proper diet will also increase your overall health, leading to increased energy and decreased risk of diet-related diseases like diabetes.

Other habits include getting adequate sleep. There is a link between adequate sleep and T-cell count, which is important to fight off viral infections such as the flu or common cold.  Additionally, your body has a unique way of fighting foreign invaders during sleep: fevers. While fevers can be bad if they are not controlled, they are important for fighting of viruses and bacteria. Without enough sleep, your immune system will be without one of its best weapons. Health experts also recommend at least eight hours of sleep for adults to promote recovery, stress management and a steady metabolism. A lack of sleep has been linked to a variety of cardiovascular problems, including stroke and heart attack. Not getting sufficient sleep can also affect cognitive abilities, which translates into being accident prone and more forgetful. A lack of sleep has also been linked to an increased risk of both diabetes and obesity, as your body craves more energy from calories to make up for a lack of sleep.

A final habit that can boost your immune system is exercising frequently and properly. Exercise may help flush bacteria and viruses out of the body due to increased cellular activity. Additionally, exercise has the potential to increase the amount of immune cells and antibodies in your body, which can help fight off infection. Exercise, specifically cardiovascular exercise, also reduces the risk of long-term ailments such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Exercise can also release endorphins that maintain a normal chemical balance in the body. This chemical balance is important for maintaining mental health. Exercise is one of the most common treatments for conditions like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Exercise can be difficult and time-consuming, but there are many fun and exhilarating methods of exercise besides going to the gym. Such methods include dance, yoga, rock wall climbing and many more, all of which will help you boost immune system function.