When it comes to boosting immune system function, nearly every expert and advice columnist agrees: The standard pillars of good health, like diet, exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene, and social support are all critical to being and staying healthy.
That is, generally speaking, most healthy living behaviors are beneficial to immune system function.
Nevertheless, some of these health behaviors and their potential benefits are better-studied than others. As a result, we can feel confident that the following actions have a significant impact on immune function.
There is a growing body of evidence to support the idea that nutritional deficiencies — of either macronutrients or micronutrients — weaken and/or slow immune responses. That’s why a balanced diet supported by high-quality natural supplements are more than just good choices for healthy living; these behaviors can diminish susceptibility to illness and help prevent chronic diseases. These effects are likely because natural supplements can:
What’s more, natural herbs and supplements may do more than just support normal immune activity. There is also a growing (albeit smaller) body of evidence suggesting that certain remedies and supplements derived from healing plants may enhance immune function above-and-beyond its normal optimal level.
Experts in the field of psychoneuroimmunology agree: Stress and other negative emotional states weaken the immune system.
Chronic stress, especially, is responsible for reducing all aspects of immune system function — especially immune cell proliferation and strength/viability. Moreover, the immune systems of people who are older, already fighting off illness, or experiencing chronic disease conditions are highly sensitive to increases in emotional stress.
It’s no surprise, then, that taking direct action to minimize and manage stress can boost immune response strength and speed. For example, practicing mindfulness meditation may reduce inflammation, enhance cell-based immunity, and slow the immunity-eroding effects of oxidative stress and aging. Similarly, ingesting tinctures and tonics derived from healing plants and their extracted volatile oils with the aim of reducing stress can have the potential secondary benefit of increasing immune system strength and responsiveness.
Few things have a greater impact on overall health (and, specifically, immune health) than sleep. That’s because sleep is critical to essential immune functions, including the production of protective immune cells (called cytokines) and infection-fighting antibodies.
Consequently, when sleep quality is poor, immune function diminishes rapidly.
Luckily, for many people, improving sleep quality may simply require adopting a few new healthy living habits. Going to bed at a consistent time, with enough time to sleep for at least 7 hours per night, dimming the lights, turning off electronic devices an hour ahead of time, and doing relaxing activities (like guided meditation) are some of the most effective ways to immediately improve sleep quality. Additionally, many natural herbs and healing plants can help support healthy sleep, either when ingested as teas or under-the-tongue tinctures or used for aromatherapy.
As the largest supplier of naturally-produced kratom in Canada, we strongly believe in the power of plants to heal our bodies. That said, everybody’s situation is different and unique. Supplements are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Research and testing is strongly recommended in order to optimize the effects that plants can have on our bodies. Some supplements are great to cure pain, some are great for anxiety and stress relief, while others are good for general well-being. Do your research, consult a health professional, and enjoy your journey of discovering a natural alternative that works for you.