Our immune system is our body’s number one defense mechanism to ensure we don’t get sick. Unfortunately, as we age, our immune system becomes weaker and there are certain lifestyle habits that can speed up this process even further.
If you’re concerned about keeping your immune system strong, you may want to cut out these common habits that sabotage your immune system.
7 habits that weaken your immune system
Majority of our immune-protecting cells are found in the gut, so when it gets damaged so does our immune system. Taking antacids can work against your immune system as they alter your stomach’s pH levels, which are intended to sterilize food. When food can’t be properly sterilized, there is a greater risk of infection.
Vitamin deficiencies are often tied to antacid intake, too, and your immune system requires essential nutrients to stay strong.
If you’re taking antacids for longer than a three-month period, start uncovering the underlying factors that could be contributing to your heartburn and try to tame it naturally in order to preserve your immune system.
You take certain medications
Similar to antacids, certain pain medications can harm the lining of the gut and intestines where majority of our immune cells reside. This can increase the risk of infection, which your immune system simply cannot fight off as effectively.
If you take pain relievers once in a while, you’re not at risk, compared to someone who takes them for chronic pain.
You take antibiotics
Antibiotics fight bad bacteria, but they can destroy good bacteria, too. Research has shown that individuals who take antibiotics for chronic infections – especially women who get chronic urinary tract infections and are on antibiotics quite frequently – are at a greater risk for a weakened immune system.
If you constantly develop urinary tract infections or other chronic infections, talk to your doctor about antibiotic alternatives or supplement with probiotics to ensure you don’t deplete your good bacteria, too.
You drink excessively
Excessive alcohol consumption impedes the production of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow, thus weakening your immune system over time. Rather than binge drinking, stick to the limit of two drinks and go some days without drinking altogether.
You partake in juice cleanses
Juice cleanses are growing in popularity as diet kick-starters and detoxes, but juice cleanses and other restrictive regimens like low-carb diets, rob your body of certain nutrients and overdose it with others, causing a nutritional imbalance.
Practice eating whole, complete meals that offer a variety of nutrients in order to keep your immune system strong.
You travel frequently
Jet-setting may be adventurous and enjoyable, but plane and hotel air, different environments and pollutants, as well as disrupted sleep and eating routines put your immune system under attack. When travelling, you become exposed to different germs and bacteria not normally found in your home environment, so your immune system is always on guard trying to fight off these new dangers.
In order to see the world while staying healthy, try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible and be mindful of any food or water warnings specific to your destination.
You are lonely
Being chronically lonely – which many seniors are – increases your risk of disease. A study from UCLA found that 20 percent of Americans report feeling chronically lonely, and researchers suggest this can change a person’s immune system over time.
Being lonely isn’t just about the physical absence of others. Sometimes, individuals feel lonely in a room full of people. Loneliness can be a symptom of a mental health issue or can result from being physically withdrawn from others. Whichever the cause of your loneliness may be, combating it – either through therapy, joining community events, or simply making a phone call –can help give your immune system a boost.
So if you find yourself easily catching any bug in the air, your immune system may very well be weakened and any of these seven reasons could be a viable cause. Take the appropriate steps to change these habits in order to stay healthier, longer.
Viral infections may accelerate age-related cognitive decline by influencing the immune system. Much of the previous work on the subject found that exposure to certain viral infections including cytomegalovirus (CMV) and herpes simplex viruses (HSV) 1 and 2, as well as the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii were able to contribute to cognitive decline. Continue reading…
New research suggests that chronic pain changes the immune system. Researcher Moshe Szyf said, “We found that chronic pain changes the way DNA is marked not only in the brain but also in T cells, a type of white blood cell essential for immunity. Our findings highlight the devastating impact of chronic pain on other important parts of the body such as the immune system.” Continue reading…