Your immune system is working around the clock to help keep you at your best, so return the favor! There are many factors that affect immune health. Some factors like age cannot be changed, but there are many simple lifestyle modifications you can make to optimize your immune health.
AGE. The immune response starts to weaken around 60 and continues to weaken with age.Pawelec G, Larbi A, Derhovanessian E. J Comp Pathol. 2010;142 Suppl 1:S39-S44.
STRESS. Both physical and emotional stress can negatively affect the immune system. The stress hormone cortisol has been shown to decrease white blood cell numbers.McGregor BA, Murphy KM, Albano DL, Ceballos RM. Stress. 2016;19(2):185-191.
SLEEP. Important immune proteins called cytokines are released while we sleep.Krueger JM, Majde JA, Rector DM. Handb CLin Neurol. 2011;98:299-240. It is important to regularly get adequate, restful sleep to support functions of the immune system.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Regular moderate-intensity exercise performed on a near-daily basis is associated with better immune health. Unfortunately, over 80% of U.S. adults are not meeting recommendations for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Website. Updated January 26, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2020. https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html
NUTRITION. The immune system needs proper nutrition to function optimally. There are a number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that play a role in supporting immune health.† Zinc is widely recognized as one of the most important minerals needed for healthy immune function.†