Estimated reading time: 8mins
What is your immune system?
The immune system is comprised of organs and cells whose role is to protect you from infections such as bacteria and viruses. The main parts of the immune system are the lymphatic system, white blood cells, bone marrow, the spleen, and the thymus (Delves & Roitt, 2000).
Our immune system can be divided into two parts: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system provides a general, non-specific defence against germs. The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, will fight against specific germs that the body has already encountered and adapted to (Hoebe, Janssen & Beutler, 2004).
In addition to defending against infections, the immune system has two other key roles. The immune system recognizes and manages any harmful substances you encounter from the environment around you, and it also fights against disease-causing changes in the body (Delves & Roitt, 2000).
The role of the immune system is to protect you from infections.
How does the immune system work?
The immune system jumps into action when the body becomes infected. Firstly, white blood cells identify the infectious agent, and they produce antibodies to fight the infection. This first step sets off a cascade of immune system functions in the fight against infection. The antibodies recognize and attach to antigens to destroy them with the help of T cells, which also signal other cells like phagocytes (Parken & Cohen, 2001).
The adaptive immune system also ‘remembers’ each infection and keeps a record in a special type of white blood cell called a memory cell. With these memory cells, the body can more easily and quickly recognize and fight an infection it has previously fought.
Can you boost your immune system?
It is well-known that your lifestyle can affect your immune system function. This includes how healthy your diet is, how much regular exercise you do, your age, the amount of psychological stress you are under, and many other factors.
Some of the simplest and easiest ways to boost your immune system are to eat an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables and to get enough restorative sleep to ensure you are recovering from bouts of stress.
Diet and your immune system
A healthy and varied diet will provide you with the micronutrients you need to support your immune function. This means a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables. You can read more on the role of nutrition in immune function from our Nutritional Science Advisor here:
A healthy lifestyle is the first thing you need to boost your immune system.
Sleep and your immune system
Getting adequate sleep is VITAL to maintaining your strong immune system. A lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on your immune system response even in the short term. Unfortunately, long term, or chronic, sleep deprivation can have even worse effects on your immunity, and these could be longer-lasting. Planning to get adequate sleep is particularly important as society becomes busier and busier, dropping the average hours of sleep significantly over the last few decades.
Sleep is not only important to boosting your immune system and decreasing your likelihood of getting infections but also in recovery when you do have an infection (Bryant, Trinder & Curtis, 2004). Think of sleep as one of the easiest tools to help your body recover.
If you have trouble relaxing at the end of the day, I highly recommend Bulk Nutrients Ashwagandha capsules. Ashwagandha has been used for thousands of years in traditional Indian home medicine called Ayurveda (Kaushik et. al., 2017). Recently, studies have identified that key extract of the ashwagandha plant and shown that it reduces the incidence of non-restorative sleep, thereby improving overall sleep quality (Deshpande et. al., 2020).
Sleep is VITAL to maintaining a strong immune system.
Exercise and your immune system
Regular exercise is a huge contributor to good health and the strengthening of the immune system. The concern here is that exercise can be a double-edged sword when it comes to your immune system and its function. The good news is that regular, moderate bouts of exercise will reduce the likelihood of infections compared to no exercise. The not so good news is that long bouts of intense exercise (like hard 1.5-2hr sessions) can cause a temporary decrease in parts of your immune system function.
Additionally, cumulative longer bouts of intense exercise (for example, when you are over-reaching) can prolong this temporary decrease in parts of your immune system function. More good news though; these decreases in immune system function are only minor when the immune system is otherwise functioning well (Gleeson, Nieman & Pederson, 2004). The downside is a small price to pay for the many benefits of exercise.
Intense exercise has good and bad impacts on your immune system – but the positive outweigh the negatives!
More supplements to strengthen your immune system
Green Fusion has over 99% active ingredients in the raw variant.
Red Fusion contains a 100% natural blend of powders derived from fruits and vegetables.
Green Fusion is packed with spirulina which provides beta carotene. Beta carotene is essential in our immune cell function (Bendich, 1991; Hughes, 1999).
Red Fusion provides iron and zinc which are important for the maintenance of immune function (Gleeson, 2007).
Both Green Fusion and Red Fusion provide vitamins A, B6, C, and E which support the protective activities of our immune cells (Calder & Kew, 1002; Maggini et. al., 2007).
Bulk Nutrients Spirulina can also be used as an alternative to the Green Fusion powder.
Probiotics and the immune system
Probiotic supplements are great for supporting some components of the immune system (Lomax & Calder, 2009; Madsen, 2006). Bulk Nutrients Proviotic provides an array of vitamins combined with a probiotic. Additionally, probiotics may benefit you in a fatigued state from training to enhance the immune response (Nichols, 2007).
Probiotics also promote improved gut health which you can read more about here:
How to Boost your immune system function
Let’s sum up the key points for you to boost your immune system function:
Eat a healthy and varied diet with adequate fruit and vegetable intake.
Aim to get enough restorative, deep sleep to assist in your recovery and immunity.
Exercise regularly and be mindful of over-reaching your training more often than you need to.
Supplement with Green Fusion and Red Fusion for a massive nutrient boost for your immune system and your overall health.
Supplement with Proviotic to assist with optimising your immunity and your gut health.
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About the author
Megan is a qualified Occupational Therapist with a Graduate Certificate in Rehabilitation, an elite powerlifter and accomplished coach. She currently runs her own soft tissue occupational therapy clinic where she specialises in injury prevention and rehabilitation, as well as management of soft tissue dysfunction and systemic imbalances. Megan combines her knowledge of rehabilitation with her extensive training and experience in strength and conditioning coaching to help people of all ages in their sport, work, and leisure goals.
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Bryant, P.A., Trinder, J. and Curtis, N., 2004. Sick and tired: does sleep have a vital role in the immune system?. Nature Reviews Immunology, 4(6), pp.457-467.
Calder, P.C. and Kew, S., 2002. The immune system: a target for functional foods?. British Journal of Nutrition, 88(S2), pp.S165-S176.
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Deshpande, A., Irani, N., Balkrishnan, R. and Benny, I.R., 2020. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the effects of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep quality in healthy adults. Sleep medicine, 72, pp.28-36.
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Gleeson, M., Nieman, D.C. and Pedersen, B.K., 2004. Exercise, nutrition and immune function. Journal of sports sciences, 22(1), pp.115-125.
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Kaushik, M.K., Kaul, S.C., Wadhwa, R., Yanagisawa, M. and Urade, Y., 2017. Triethylene glycol, an active component of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) leaves, is responsible for sleep induction. PloS one, 12(2), p.e0172508.
Lomax, A.R. and Calder, P.C., 2009. Probiotics, immune function, infection and inflammation: a review of the evidence from studies conducted in humans. Current pharmaceutical design, 15(13), pp.1428-1518.
Madsen, K., 2006. Probiotics and the immune response. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 40(3), pp.232-234.
Maggini, S., Wintergerst, E.S., Beveridge, S. and Hornig, D.H., 2007. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. British Journal of Nutrition, 98(S1), pp.S29-S35.
Nichols, A.W., 2007. Probiotics and athletic performance: a systematic review. Current sports medicine reports, 6(4), pp.269-273.
Parkin, J. and Cohen, B., 2001. An overview of the immune system. The Lancet, 357(9270), pp.1777-1789.