As we enter peak cold and flu season, you’re probably thinking about ways to boost your immune system and give yourself and your loved ones an edge in warding off illness-causing germs. Fortunately, there are some science-backed, all-natural, immune-strengthening strategies that can help you do just that.
In this blog post, we’re going to explore exactly what your immune system does, what it really means to give your immunity a boost, and dive into some natural ways you can support your immune system all year long.
Immune System Function: What Exactly Does Your Immune System Do?
Think of your immune system as a highly intricate, ultra-complex, well-oiled machine that works behind the scenes 24 hours a day to defend you. Your immune system is composed of a complicated network of organs, tissues, cells, and specific signaling molecules that are all designed to work in harmony to:1
- Fight off harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites
- Detect, neutralize, and eliminate toxic environmental substances that sneak their way into your body
- Combat disease-causing changes (like the growth of cancerous cells) and help maintain balance throughout your body systems
Needless to say, your immune system is critical to your health and survival. So it makes sense that giving it some extra love and support can have a monumental impact on your health and well-being.
Can You Really Boost Your Immune System Naturally?
The answer to this question is – absolutely. But before we dive into how you can naturally boost your immune system, it’s important to clearly define what it actually means to “boost” and “support” your immune system. You see, your immune system is a complex defense network that’s designed to work in a rhythmic process that goes something like this:
- Your immune system stands guard, watchfully waiting for any potential threats
- When a threat is detected, your immune system is activated – launching an attack to neutralize the threat by ramping up the inflammation process
- Once the threat has been subdued and eliminated, your immune system begins to deactivate – ramping down inflammation and returning to its normal resting state
So when it comes to promoting a healthy and effective immune system, the truth is, stronger is not always better. Because if your immune system becomes too “strong”, the pendulum can swing too far in one direction – causing your immune system to become oversensitive, overreactive, and stuck in overproduction mode. And an overactive immune system can be just as harmful as a weakened or suppressed immune system – leading to complex inflammatory conditions like CIRS, MCAS, or autoimmunity.
So when it comes to supporting and “boosting” your immune system, the aim is not necessarily stronger, but rather promoting a smarter, more balanced immune system. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s dive into some of the most potent ways you can naturally boost your immunity.
Boost Your Immune System by Supporting Gut Health
Your gut and your immune system function like two peas in a pod. That’s because your digestive tract is constantly bombarded with invading microbes and harmful toxins from your external environment through the food and beverages you ingest – meaning your gut is on the front line of defense.
Your gut works in conjunction with your immune system to protect you in a few distinct ways:2,4,3
- Serving as an invader-trapping barrier: The cells that line your gut are designed to lock together tightly to create a barrier that blocks microbes and toxins from sneaking their way out of your gut and into your bloodstream. To further bolster this barrier, specialized cells in your digestive tract secrete compounds that magnetize and trap invading microbes so they can be effectively neutralized and eliminated through your bowels.
- Sounding the alarm: A large number of immune cells actually reside right within your gut where they are in close communication with your digestive cells. Cells that line your intestines serve as sensors that relay information to their neighboring immune cells – allowing them to quickly sound the alarm and recruit your immune system to destroy foreign invaders.
- Creating an immune-supporting ecosystem: Your gut is home to trillions of beneficial microbes that live and work in harmony with your own cells. These beneficial microbes are able to “cross-talk” and communicate crucial information to your immune system. These microscopic comrades also produce a plethora of by-products (like vitamins and short-chain fatty acids) that your immune system relies on to function properly.
Keeping your gut in tip-top shape is foundational for optimal immune function. So how can you best support a healthy gut?
Best Ways to Support Gut Health
Some ways you can support your gut-immune function include:
- Focus on anti-inflammatory foods: Focus on centering most of your meals around foods that combat inflammation in your gut like fresh veggies and fruits, quality protein sources, and healthy fats while minimizing processed foods and sugars that can activate your immune system.
- Maximize your microbiome: Your microbiome – or the ecosystem of microbes that live in your gut is a pivotal piece of the puzzle when it comes to a thriving gut and immune system. Inoculating your gut with a diverse population of friendly bacteria and creating an environment that allows them to flourish is one of the best ways to boost your overall gut health.
- Ensure you’re eliminating properly: While bowel movements and elimination certainly aren’t the most glamorous things to talk about, regularly going to the bathroom is essential for gut health. If you notice that your bowel movements are irregular, incomplete, or a little sluggish, it may be time for some gut maintenance. One of the simplest most effective ways to naturally cleanse and reset your gut is through what’s known as a colonic – a simple procedure that flushes out your large intestine to help support optimal digestion.
You simply can’t ignore your gut health if you want to support a healthy thriving immune system. Now let’s explore another powerful way to supercharge your immune system.
Boost Your Immune System by Enhancing Detoxification
Processing and removing any environmental toxins is part of your immune system’s job. But if the total amount of toxins coming in exceeds your immune system’s capacity to address them, your immune system can essentially become “clogged up” – allowing these toxins to accumulate within your tissues.
As your immune system struggles to keep up with the influx of toxins, it goes into overdrive – activating low-level inflammation and working itself into burn-out mode. And a clogged-up, overactive, and exhausted immune system simply can’t do its job effectively – making you more susceptible to pathogens, toxins, and illness.5
So let’s look at some ways you can enhance your immune system’s ability to detox.
Best Ways to Amplify Detoxification
The first step to amplifying detoxification is always minimizing exposure. It’s crucial to slow down the influx of toxins as you work to address any accumulated toxins. Some important aspects to consider when minimizing toxin exposures are:
- Mold exposure: Toxic mold can be lurking inconspicuously in many homes and buildings and drastically contribute to your total toxic input.
- Contaminated water and polluted air: Two of our most precious resources – water and air – can, unfortunately, be tainted with a ton of troublesome toxins. To learn more about how you can address these exposures, head over and check out my articles all about purifying your water and cleaning up your indoor air.
- Household products: Cleaning sprays, air fresheners, and even the personal care products you slather on your body can be a major source of toxins. Opting for healthier versions of these products that contain less harmful toxins can go a long way in minimizing your exposure levels.
Once you’ve addressed the amount of toxins coming in, you can focus on amplifying detoxification by:
- Supporting gut health: Your gut plays a pivotal role in detoxification, so be sure to focus on the gut health steps outlined above.
- PEMF therapy: PEMF therapy works sort of like a battery charger for your cells – recharging them and revving up their ability to release, process, and remove stored toxins.
- Ozone therapy: In ozone therapy, ozone molecules are able to diffuse into your bloodstream where they can bind to the negative ions found on the outside of many toxins – essentially trapping and neutralizing the toxic molecules.
- Lymphatic enhancement therapy: Your lymphatic system is a crucial component of your immune system – producing and storing white blood cells while serving as a transportation channel that carries toxins and wastes out of your body. Lymphatic enhancement therapy is like a massage for your lymphatic system – increasing circulation and restoring optimal function.
- Infrared sauna: The heat induced by infrared saunas can supercharge detoxification by liquefying fat cells so they can better release toxins, activating immune cells, and increasing the absorption of immune-boosting nutrients.
- IV therapy: IV therapy infuses a concentrated cocktail of carefully calibrated nutrients directly into your bloodstream – flooding your cells from the inside out with immune-supporting, inflammation-soothing, and detoxification-boosting compounds.
To dive a little deeper into how detoxing works and how you can support your natural detoxification pathways, head over and check out our article Why Is Detoxification Good For Health? How To Supercharge Your Natural Detox Pathways. Now let’s explore one final and incredibly potent way to support your immune system that’s often overlooked.
Boost Your Immune System by Regulating Your Nervous System
Your body only has so much energy to go around – meaning each body system is constantly in competition with the rest of your body systems for its share of energy. And one of the most
most energy-demanding systems within your body is your neural activity – also known as your brain function
And just about everyone can attest to the fact that negative feelings – like stress, overwhelm, burn-out, and anxiety – can feel all-consuming and majorly zap your energy. On top of depleting you of precious energetic resources, regularly being in a state where your nervous system is “activated” and stressed releases a cocktail of hormones and chemical messengers that can majorly suppress your immune system.6,7,8
So, intentionally working to help your nervous system stay regulated and transition back into a resting, peaceful state is not only essential for your mental well-being, but for a properly functioning immune system too.
Best Ways to Support Nervous System Regulation
Some ways you can help soothe and calm your nervous system and help support your body in spending more time in a relaxed, peaceful state include:
- Neurofeedback therapy: Every thought you think, emotion you experience, and action you take is triggered by electrical impulses in your brain that create patterns known as brain waves. Neurofeedback therapy helps teach your brain how to regulate itself – essentially retraining your brain to more easily access more positive and supportive states.
- Grounding and connecting with nature: As humans, we are designed to work in harmony with nature. Getting outside and coming into direct contact with the earth’s surface can help stabilize electrical activity within your cells and restore balance to the hormones that impact your stress levels, mood, and cognitive function.
- Setting intentions: The truth is, for most of us, feeling relaxed, content, and present doesn’t simply just happen. We must set intentions and deliberately create these feelings and experiences for ourselves.
- Meditation: Regularly practicing meditation can help quite literally rewire your brain in a positive way – creating newer, stronger neural connections while supporting healthy and balanced hormone and neurotransmitter levels.
Your mind, spirit, and body are inextricably linked – you simply can’t optimize any aspect of your physical health without also addressing your emotional and spiritual health. To dive deeper into the science behind the powerful practice of mind-body medicine, you have to check out our article Ultimate Guide to Mind-Body Medicine: Is What You Think Making You Sick.
Are You in The Phoenix Arizona Area and Looking for Ways to Optimize Your Immune System?
If you reside in Phoenix or any of the surrounding areas and are looking to give your immune system a boost, address an ongoing immune system imbalance, or simply want to optimize your overall health, we’ve got you covered. We have an arsenal of tactics – including all of those listed in this article plus many, many more – to help you supercharge your immune system and optimize your health.
We as humans are beautifully complex. And every facet of our health, happiness, and well-being is intricately interconnected. Here at Silver Tree Wellness, we specialize in treating you as the complex, multi-layered, and entirely unique person you are. We address every aspect of your life – physically, mentally, spiritually, environmentally, and more – to help you heal and thrive in every area of your life.
If you’re ready to tap into true, deep healing and take your well-being to the next level, don’t waste another day not feeling your absolute best. Call our office at 602-675-0170 or email us by clicking right here to schedule your consultation today. We can’t wait to partner with you on your journey to the very best version of you.
- How does the immune system work? – InformedHealth.org – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
- Allergy and the gastrointestinal system (nih.gov)
- The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity (nih.gov)
- The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies – PubMed (nih.gov)
- The Capacity of Toxic Agents to Compromise the Immune System (Biologic Markers of Immunosuppression) – Biologic Markers in Immunotoxicology – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)
- Brain–immune interactions and the neural basis of disease-avoidant ingestive behaviour (nih.gov)
- The Brain-Immunology Axis | Dana Foundation
- Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry (nih.gov)