Articles

Building Immune Strength

For colds, flus & other viruses

Your best defense in the viral season of colds and flus is innate strength,  your body’s natural Immune Defense Team. Highlighting a few of the strongest challenges for that Team:

  • Less sunshine
  • Excess sugar
  • Excess stress
  • Less sleep

Less sunshine   As daylight hours shorten, we lose several sunshine gifts that support the immune system. Reduced exposure to the sun’s infrared rays reduces one of  nature’s natural detox services. Less representation of the blue-violet  spectrum (from the angling of the sun through the atmosphere) increases depression. Less sunshine is also a significant reduction in natural Vitamin D, essential to immune function. Seasonal dietary choices (less fresh greens, more carbs) also decrease the supply of minerals needed to assimilate Vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins.

Excess sugar
‘Tis the season of the Sugar Fest ! This unlabeled  and progressive event  blooms with the arrival of  Halloween and continues  until new year resolutions appear. Whether self-supplied or provided at festive gatherings, sugary foods/sugar indulgence contributes to suppression of the immune system, creating greater vulnerability to minor and major viruses. One estimate is that the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar suppresses immune function up to 6 hours. How many sugars in your coffee? in your kombucha? Any contacts with viral-loaded people after those events when you’ve suppressed your Defense Team?

Excess stress
Stress activates a priority/crisis management system that 1) stimulates extra sugar production (yikes, see above) in the bloodstream as reserve fuel, and 2) suppresses immune, digestive, and hormonal systems to allow quick and intense responses from the nervous system. Yes, stress suppresses your immune system! (as well as your libido and your digestive efficiency…) We don’t grow without stress, but we don’t maintain health with constant stress or a mind/body unrestored from stress. Fall and winter tend to be more stress-filled with employment activity, beginnings and deadlines.

Deficient sleep or sleep quality
Stress accompanied by decreased physical activity increases the amount of  cortisol in circulation in your body – a powerful interference with restorative sleep. Cortisol  promotes light sleep of continued “vigilance” and interferes with the production and  restorative action of the hormone melatonin, required for repair throughout the body.  Whereas nature intended more hours of sleep in the fall and winter seasons, we have artificially created “higher productivity” of as many if not more “working” hours…  Another seasonal sleep concern: we tend to overheat our bedrooms, which reduces our sleep-time anti-inflammatory efforts. Our bodies can be warm, but the air we breathe while we sleep should be cooler. 

Strengthen your Defense Team
Nothing new,  just reminders of how you can choose your health. You can improve your pre-sleep habits for better quality sleep, increase your Vitamin D dosing, maintain physical activity, manage your blood sugar, or many other options for creating the best Defense Team. The choices are yours, the benefits are better resilience, less illness, and faster recovery from the viral challenges of the season.