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What are some ways to boost your immune system?

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What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby JohnMessick » Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:17 pm

Hello friends,

I have been very ill lately and the virus seem to be never ending and I always suffer weak because I am always ill. I have had three things wrong with me in the last week. Does anyone know of any ways to boost my immune system and stop these never ending virus's?

Any idea suggest me

Thanks
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby Darby » Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:43 pm

Even though "boosting the immune system" is a very popular phrase with sellers of all sorts of useless stuff, I'm not absolutely sure that there is even a reliable way of measuring such an effect. Your immune system does become measurably more active when fighting something, but that's not really what "boosting" means.

Is there some way to "boost" your potential to fight new things off? Probably, but the most accessible means may just involve good nutrition and rest, which isn't very marketable.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:45 am

Darby's right - "boost" is a marketing term and is essentially BS.
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Postby canalon » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:52 am

And interestingly there are quite a few diseases that are the direct consequences of the immune system over reaction. Common cold is a common example :)
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby caban » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:06 am

Your adaptive immune system gets naturally stronger whenever it gets into contact with pathogen, so paradoxically being too hygiene ( what most people do nowadays ) will make you weaker. People who were raised outside big cities, on farms, where they were exposed to pathogens much more throught contact with animals or dirt, have stronger immunity.

Also using medicines makes you weaker, cause you interfere with natural adaptive processes. Of course I don't advocate complete abandonment of medicines, just avoiding them when they are not necessary - common cold being an example. Whenever I get sick, I just let my immune system do the job. Now usually after few days I am fully recovered, feeling stronger than before the sickness.

From some more safe and controled ways of improving your immunity I would advice implementing some fermented foods into your diet. Bacterias compete with one another for gut flora space, so its advisable to promote the growth of good bacteria. Also they stimulate the lymphoid tissue. But be aware that most commercial fermented products are heated, so you won't find any good bacterias there. Buy some sauerkraut on local farmer's market or do your own kefir ( which is very easy actually ).
And last, but not necessary the least, laughning, enjoying life, meditating - anything that activates your parasympathetic nervous system, because it is like the reverse state of fight-or-flight which, when active in prolonged episodes, can be very detrimental to your health.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:36 am

The so-called hygiene hypothesis is just that - a hypothesis. There are very little data that support the concept and the presumption that we are not constantly exposed to antigens/immune stimulation in any of our environments is not supported with data. The few reports that attempt to tie farm dwellers to better immunity cite asthma as the relevant measure. The etiology of asthma has not been tied to immune response or strength of immnity. Caban, can you provide more pivotal data on this?
Using medicines make you weaker? Reference please. Some claim Zn can shorten the cold but removing this, there are no treatments but appliative so we really have no choice but to rely on our immune system. I'm not sure what you mean in this context.

Mind giving a reference for the fermented food proposal?
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby Darby » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:01 pm

Exposure to antigens does broaden your specific immunities, if that means "strengthening," and there is evidence that without exposure to actual pathogens (possibly requiring worms), you immune system might be more prone to responding to allergens, but there would seem to be no mechanism to support your medicine hypothesis. Your immune system reacts to exposure, unrelated to the level of subsequent disease, so curing a disease should not change your antibody response.
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby caban » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:18 pm

Hygiene hypothesis:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3277269
I will give you more data later, when I find some time.

About the medicines, of course it depends on the type. Some just "weaken" your immunity in the sense of removing part of the job from your immune system, which in consequence bring us to similar case - your white cells don't spend sufficient time on "training" and improving. Other medicines, like antibiotics, directly cotribute to weakening by permanently killing bacterias in your microflora:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 6393a.html
http://chriskresser.com/the-high-price- ... ly-recover

Strange that you need any reference to fermented foods, since they are natural resources of probiotics, about which lately there have been made many researches, but anyway here you go:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12583961
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22293347
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... x/abstract
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby caban » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:22 pm

Darby wrote: Your immune system reacts to exposure, unrelated to the level of subsequent disease, so curing a disease should not change your antibody response.


Not true. Whenever your adaptive immune system is activated it uses memory B and T cells to remember certain pathogens, so next time it get exposed to them, it responds quicker and more efficient.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:02 pm

iCaban – thanks for the sophomoric response.
I'm not sure if you fail to understand the hygiene hypothesis or are blowing us of. Infuenza infection and diabetes has nothing to do with the model you proposed. In fact, one is much more likely to be exposed to influenza in a city environment.
If you meant antibiotic use – you should have said that. “Medicines” is a broad subject and antibiotics have nothing to do with the common cold – as you should know. In any case, antibiotic overuse would bring strains resistant to treatment, not a change in ones immune status.
We’re all aware of gut flora’s role in health – and you apparently confuse immunity with flora dynamics. The kefir reference you offered spoke of suppression of immune response.
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Postby JorgeLobo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:22 pm

And you should have more carefully read darby's comment before responding. You both spoke to the specificity of response - darby's point being that generation of a specific immune response would not benefit response to an unrelated challlenge. Of course we understand the anamnestic response to the same antigen.
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Re: What are some ways to boost your immune system?

Postby caban » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:44 pm

Ah, you're welcome.
I am sorry, but since english isn't my native language, I am not familiar with all scientific terms in this language, that's way I may make some misinterpretation.
The question wasn't about only common cold, but being ill/infected by a virus in general. So that is why I wanted to reply with general answer. Not all things directly contribute to better immune system, but nevertheless they can improve its efficacy. In situations like this I always try to take a whole organism perspective. The proper work of immune system heavily depends on its environment - both internal and external. So improving things like circulation, homeostatic balance or nutrition is also very important.
I meant medicines in general. And I don't know if you're aware, but many doctors tend to prescribe antibiotics for influenza ( probably mostly because of misdiagnose ).

In any case, antibiotic overuse would bring strains resistant to treatment, not a change in ones immune status

Looks like your mature attitude towards my sophomoric response made you miss the articles I provided or you just tend to be too specific and reductionist. Here's the link to a study:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774411/

Now before you respond I would like to mention few things:
- probably, in general, you have much bigger knowledge than me in the field of medicine
- there was no intention in my response, it may seem otherwise quite possibly because, again, english isn't my native language
- there's a big chance that there's actually not much disagreement between us, just different attitudes/perspective to the same problem, for instance autoimmunity for me is also a sign of weakened immunity, but not in the strict sense
- of course I can be wrong in many/even all points, but being authoritative instead of dialectic won't do much here, maybe try to provide some counter data?
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