As our awareness of new viruses and bacteria grows, so does our interest in protecting ourselves from their harms.
It’s only natural to want to live your life to the fullest, and when we feel our best, we can be at our best. Our immune system is the key to a healthy life, but what exactly is the immune system and how does it work?
What Is My Immune System?
The immune system is made up of two parts: innate and adaptive.
As the name hints, we are born with our innate immune system. Our adaptive immune system develops as our bodies are exposed to microbes over time.
The immune system’s two parts work together towards one big goal: to prevent or limit infection.
Much like the immune system has two parts, there are two primary ways we become sick. Illness happens when our cells become unhealthy due to infection or damage, or because infectious cell microbes - like viruses and bacteria - enter our system. According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy immune system distinguishes between normal and abnormal cells in the body and prepares what are called antibodies to fight those abnormal cells.
Generally, your immune system is working well if you are not often sick — or if when you do get sick, you usually recover quickly.
But what if you do get sick frequently, and find it hard to recover from illnesses? Then it could be time to boost your natural immunity!
What Happens When My Immune System Is Weak?
When your immune system is weak, your body will give you signals to indicate the problem. You might experience high stress, upset stomach or frequent fatigue if your immune system isn’t strong, according to Penn Medicine.
Other lesser-known signs of a weak immune system include:
- Cold Hands
- Dry Eyes
- Hair Loss
When your system isn’t optimal, then those rogue cells run rampant for longer and do more damage to your body.
Acquiring Natural Immunity
When the immune system works like it should, your body creates antibodies to diseases it is exposed to; this results in natural immunity.
Only active immunity is long-lasting, which means once you have created an immunity (the antibodies needed to fight a particular disease), your body will automatically produce the antibodies needed to fight a disease when you come into contact with that same disease again in the future.
Clearly, it’s worthwhile to invest in boosting your active immune response!
How Can I Boost My Immune System?
The pieces of the puzzle to boost your immunity include exercise, adequate rest, hydration and nutrition.
Nutritional boosts to our immunity come in two key forms: vitamins and minerals. If your immune system fuels your body’s health, then vitamins and minerals fuel your immune system.
The tried-and-true vitamin for natural immunity boosting is Vitamin C. According to Mayo Clinic, Vitamin C protects your body’s cells against free radicals, which are nasty molecules that play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other intense diseases. Antioxidants like Vitamin C prevent or delay cell damage. Vitamin C also helps your body soak in and store iron, one of those essential minerals for your body’s function.
As an antioxidant, Vitamin C might help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and store iron. Vitamin C is critical to your body’s natural immunity.
Here’s the catch: our bodies don’t naturally produce Vitamin C! This means that we are responsible for our own intake of Vitamin C.
Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruit and kiwifruit, are the best sources of recommended amounts of Vitamin C. Vegetables such as broccoli, red pepper, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and baked potatoes also have substantial amounts of Vitamin C that will contribute to your daily nutritional value. Many people find Vitamin C supplements give that extra natural supplement to health their bodies need.
And we can’t forget those all-important minerals. Zinc is a great example. According to the National Institutes of Health, zinc is a mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions in addition to immune system function, including protein synthesis, wound healing, normal growth and development, and - fun fact! - zinc helps us taste and smell.
A daily intake of zinc is essential to maintaining balance since the body has no specialized way to store zinc for the long haul. This means a zinc supplement can be very useful to maintain levels of zinc for optimal health.
Along with zinc, there are other minerals at work in your body’s system: electrolytes. Electrolytes include other minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride.
Especially when you’re dehydrated, your body lacks those essential electrolytes. How do you know if your electrolytes are low? The symptoms of low electrolytes are the same for a weakened immune system: fatigue, headache, nausea, muscle cramps, low energy, and overall feeling poorly.
When you take care of your electrolyte intake, you’re also taking care of your immune system.
Another source of immune system boosts many people are taking advantage of today is elderberry. Elderberry has many benefits and is one of nature’s most versatile fruits.
Remember those antioxidants, like Vitamin C? Elderberry is densely packed with antioxidants and vitamins that not only strengthen your immune system, it also can decrease inflammation, decrease stress and is a heart-healthy food.
Take Care of Your Immune System to Stay Healthy
The balance of health has many moving parts. It can be discouraging if you already focus on your health and wellness, yet still feel run down and less than one hundred percent. Supplementing your natural immunity can be a game-changer.
Don’t miss out on the vital vitamins and minerals that you need to be healthy and well. Try Hydralyte’s new Plus Immune System Boost for on-the-go hydration packed full of immune-boosting ingredients like electrolytes, Vitamin C and elderberry to support your immune system.