Ways to Boost Your Immune Function

immune system boosters

Ways to Boost Your Immune Function

Many of us are feeling worried and overwhelmed during this time as we all do our best to stay safe by following all of the safety guidelines to avoid germs. Another important factor in staying healthy is of course, your immune system. This plays a vital role in decreasing the risk of getting sick and in the severity of any illness you may contract.

We know that Photobiomodulation Light Therapy (PBM) can relieve pain and inflammation, but did you know that it is also a natural antioxidant & can enhance your immune function? It’s also a wonderful way to relax and de- stress.

So, how does your immune system work and what can you do to help it work optimally? How can light therapy help enhance your immune function?

How Does Your Immune System Work?

Your immune system has a vital role in keeping you healthy. It protects your body from harmful substances, pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, and cell changes that could make you ill. It is an intricate, complex structure composed of organs, proteins, antibodies, and white blood cells. The key to this process is a cell’s ability to distinguish between normal, healthy cells (the “self”) and harmful microorganisms.

When pathogens are identified by our bodies, white blood cells are dispatched and work to eliminate them. These cells create a barrier against any disease or internal threat to your body. Other parts of your immune system, including the thymus, spleen, and lymphatic system, support the body by helping white blood cells function to their full potential.

How Does Light Therapy Support and Strengthen the Immune System?

Photobiomodulation (PBM) also known as Low-Level Light Therapy (LLLT), employs low level laser, and LED lights to the body at specific frequencies and time durations. The light penetrates into your skin and your tissue about 1-4 cm depending on the type of light.  The light photons work at the cellular level where they interact with the mitochondria known as the powerhouse of the cell. (See more on how PBM works.)

This creates a chain reaction resulting in several benefits for the body, including:

Stimulation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production: ATP is the source of energy at the cellular level, it is the energy used by white blood cells to keep you healthy. Typically, ATP is produced by the mitochondria with the energy stored in food. But red light enhances this performance in damaged cells, allowing cells to function more optimally, replicate successfully, and fight any infections.

Increases capillary creation: PBM helps your body create more capillaries, improving blood flow throughout the body, which helps bring nutrients to cells and remove harmful cells/waste.

Reduces cell death (apoptosis) and improves cell proliferation and migration: Reduction of apoptosis means that more cells are available to “educate” other cells in the thymus and the bone marrow, essentially teaching them how to distinguish between healthy cells and foreign (harmful) cells.

Improves thyroid health: The thyroid produces hormones, specifically T(3) and T(4), that are modulators of the immune response.

Improves liver regeneration: PBM stimulates liver regeneration, enabling the liver to differentiate between nutrients and toxins and decide which should be absorbed or eliminated.

Activates stem cells: PBM light therapy helps to activate stem cells, which then become active in the immune response.

Decreases inflammation: Chronic inflammation is a primary cause of many autoimmune conditions and many other serious illnesses. (See Blog on Inflammation)

Together, these benefits all help boost your general health, and more specifically, your immune system. (Sources)

What Else Can You Do? Seven Tips to Naturally Boost Your Immune Function.

  1. Clean Air & Water
  2. Regular Exercise
  3. Adequate Sleep
  4. Minimize Stress
  5. Practice Gratitude
  6. Minimize Immune Suppressing Behaviors
  7. Increase Immune Boosting Food and Supplements
  1. Stay Hydrated:
    Although drinking water does not prevent germs, it is necessary for the proper functioning of your body including digestion and the elimination of toxins. Start your day with a glass of water and drink regularly throughout the day. Remember to do some conscious breathing each day. Get fresh air to clean your lungs by breathing deeply.  (See more on breathing techniques)
  2. Exercise 
    Exercise can reduce stress, decrease your risk of heart disease and strengthen your bones and muscles.  There are also several theories on how moderate exercise boosts immunity. If possible, get regular exercise (see details on exercise)
  3. Sleep:
    Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Sleep helps T cells in your body fight off infection. Sleep resets your body and enables your brain and body to function optimally.  (See more) Some ways to help you sleep: don’t watch the news before bed and stop all screen time at least an hour before bed, try guided meditation or Yoga Nidra (Sleep Yoga) to help you fall asleep. Yoga Nidra is also a very powerful exercise to do if you can’t get adequate sleep and need to recharge. 20-30 minutes is all it requires. See more on yoga nidra benefits.
  1. Minimize Negative Stress:
    Stress is a bit more complicated because we need some stress in our lives to motivate us into action. Our stress signals keep us safe from danger (fight or flight) and help us get motivated to do what is necessary in our lives. Stress also triggers our immune system to produce T cells (T lymphocytes) which are one of the main components of the adaptive immune system. They are vital in hosting an immune response against pathogens. Chronic stress, however, can lead to many health problems.  Prolonged, chronic stress suppresses the immune response against pathogens and negatively affects the components of the immune system that battle with diseases such as cancer. The good news is, there are many ways to combat stress (other than taking vacations) that we can still do here at home. Finding a healthy work/life balance is key but often difficult during Covid restrictions. Most of us are dealing with much more stress than usual so it is important to find ways to manage it.
    Spending time in nature, finding time to do things you enjoy and finding new hobbies are ways to de-stress. Remember to focus on what you can control or change and not on what you can’t. Connecting with friends and animals can reduce stress and of course, laughter is another great way. Turn off the news for awhile and find a good comedy to watch. Meditation is a great way to stimulate the healing / calming effect of your autonomic nervous system. There are many online resources with guided meditation and much more (i.e Calm app).
    To learn about how chronic stress can affect your health and how to reduce it, please see Dr. Bal Pawa’s Website with her Mind Body Connection Ted Talk and new Book.
  2. Practice Gratitude:
    One of the best ways to combat negative thoughts and anxiety is to think of what you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude and repeating positive affirmations helps us feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences and deal with adversity. Practicing gratitude does not mean that we should ignore problems or immediate needs we should attend to, it simply helps us become better equipped to take action in a meaningful, productive manner. All of this helps our mental and physical health! Learn how.
  1. Stop or Minimize Immune Suppressing Behaviors: Smoking, excessive alcohol, immune suppressing drugs, steroids, and other toxins that harm your health.
  2. Increase Immune Boosting Foods and Supplements:

immune boosting food

Nutritional Suggestions Note: It is always best to consult a Naturopath, Nutritionist or other food and supplement health professional to find the right combination for your unique self.

Important Supplements:

Vitamin D3
It is recommended that we can take up to 10,000 IU per day especially during the winter months. Preferably spread out over 3 doses. Liquid is best for absorption. Find some sunshine if you can!

Vitamin C
2000 to 3000 mg per day, spread out over a couple doses per day.

B Complex Vitamins
B vitamins including B12 and B6 are important for a healthy immune response.

Zinc is needed for immune cell development and communication plus it plays an important role in the inflammatory response.

All of us can influence our health by practicing safety measures to avoid germs and other harmful substances and by giving our bodies what we need to keep our immune systems as strong as possible. In order for your immune system to work optimally, your body must be healthy at the cellular level. In addition to continuing or adopting a healthy lifestyle, PBM light therapy is an invaluable way to support cellular health and reduce oxidative stress.

Wishing you health and happiness!
Luminous Health Solutions

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