How to improve immunity in adults? And can it be raised at all? Someone believes that the cold is undermining him, and someone - that they have nothing to do with him at all. Let's figure it out with an expert.

How to boost immunity (and why wearing a hat has nothing to do with it)

How to increase human immunity - this question is always relevant. Our immune system does a great job of protecting the body from pathogens. But sometimes her work fails: the microbe successfully gets inside and makes us sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and strengthen your immune system? Would food help here? Or do you need certain vitamins or supplements? Or maybe a lifestyle change would help? Let's consider all the ways.

What to do to boost your immune system

The idea of ​​boosting the body's immunity to colds is tempting, but the ability to do so is actually not that simple for several reasons.

From a scientific point of view, there is no such thing as "increased immunity". In fact, we do not need our immune system to be constantly strengthened. The fact is that it contains many types of cells that react to microbes. This innate immune response occurs when a virus penetrates our body's defenses, such as the skin, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes, and puts it on high alert to attack.If these immune responses could be "boosted" whenever we pleased, our body would be in a state of constant attack and we would begin to feel unwell all the time.For example, problems like asthma , eczema, food allergies are all symptoms of an overactive immune system, not a “weak” one.

While many products claim to "boost" immunity, which has become a common marketing buzzword, the concept makes little sense scientifically. Our immune system is made up of cells such as white blood cells and white blood cells. At the moment, scientists don't even know what combination of cells is the optimal number for the system to work best.

The next time you read that a particular vitamin helps "strengthen" the immune system, know that it's really just helping to keep it in balance. For example, vitamin C is known to support it by helping the cellular functions of the innate and adaptive immune systems. In other words, finding balance, not amplification.

But this does not mean that there is no effect on immunity. Researchers are actively studying how to increase the body's immunity: the influence of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress and other factors on the immune response.

How age and immunity are related

With age, the immune system weakens - this is the main reason why people over 70 are most at risk of diseases and infections, and we hear complaints from elderly relatives: "I often get sick, how to increase immunity." However, this does not happen for everyone. The good news is that there are ways to turn back the immunological clock. The decline in the health of our immune system begins at puberty and can be accelerated by lifestyle factors. For example, people who smoke , are obese, or lead a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have immune systems that are "older" than their biological years.

One reason for her aging has to do with the fact that as she ages, some of her immune cells begin to misbehave. One class of them is called neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cells that provide the body's first line of defense against infection by attacking and engulfing offending cells. However, older neutrophils track down "invaders" worse, and they often make mistakes.

How to strengthen human immunity: 6 ways

1. Full healthy sleep

During sleep, our body rests and regenerates. With sleep disorders (insomnia, short sleep, frequent awakenings), the body does not have time to fully relax and recuperate, as a result, the nervous system is in constant tension. With a lack of sleep, working capacity, emotional state are disturbed, memory, mental abilities are disturbed, and the body's immune defenses may even decrease. With prolonged sleep disturbance, the functional activity of immunocompetent cells decreases, their ability to regenerate decreases. And the state of normal sleep helps to reduce the level of secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, instead of looking on the Web for advice on “what to drink to boost immunity for adults”, it’s better not to neglect a full healthy sleep!

2. Physical activity

It can be daily exercise, going to the pool or group classes, even 10,000 steps a day is already a significant contribution (or even less - experts are now considering a new number of necessary steps per day )! During physical activity, the heart muscle is trained, vascular tone is maintained, blood supply to tissues and cells improves, as a result they receive more oxygen and nutrients, which contributes to their better functioning. And also there is an increase in the number of leukocytes (cells of the immune system) in the blood, immunoglobulins, as well as other protective factors.

3. Diverse food

With food, we get not only nutrients, but also the vitamins, minerals and fiber that the body needs. The latter is especially important for the normal functioning of the immune system. In our body, fiber is broken down by intestinal bacteria. These are friendly organisms that prevent the reproduction of pathogenic bacteria and have a tremendous impact on the immune system. Therefore, feed your intestinal microflora correctly!

4. Prophylactic vitamin D intake

In our band, almost every person has a lack or deficiency of vitamin D. And it is very important for the functioning of the immune system, as well as for the full functioning of the body in general. Vitamin D has a kind of immunomodulatory effect: its active forms regulate all the mechanisms of immune defense. Receptors for vitamin D have been found in the organs of the immune system and in immunocompetent cells. Vitamin D not only strengthens the immune system, it regulates and harmonizes its various links, providing protection not only from infectious agents, but also from our own degenerate tumor cells and autoimmune conditions.

5. Minimize stress and have a positive attitude

It is very difficult to downplay the role of stress in our lives. When stress occurs, the release of steroid hormones, mainly cortisol. One of their functions is to suppress the immune system. Under chronic stress, the number of NK cells responsible for antitumor surveillance is almost halved, immune cells become less sensitive to cytokines, therefore, they react worse to pathogens and interact worse with each other.

6. Vaccination

This is the training of our immune system. The essence of vaccination is that weakened or killed pathogens or even their components enter the body. This amount should be sufficient to elicit a response without causing disease. When vaccinated, the immune system learns to recognize an infectious agent, develops a special weapon - antibodies, creates memory cells in case of a repeated encounter with such an antigen. As a result, artificial acquired active immunity is formed.

Does cold make the immune system weak?

Probably every mother said: “Put on a hat, otherwise you will catch a cold!” Is she right? Actually not really.

Exposure to moderate low temperatures does not increase our susceptibility to infection. There are two reasons why winter is "cold and flu season." In winter, people spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can transmit their germs. In addition, the flu virus stays in the air longer when the air is cold and less humid.

But researchers are still studying this issue along with how to strengthen the immune system so as not to get sick. Some experiments with mice have shown that exposure to cold can even reduce the ability to cope with infection. But what about people? Scientists conducted experiments in which volunteers were briefly immersed in cold water or spent short periods of time naked in sub-zero temperatures. The results were mixed. For example, researchers have documented an increase in upper respiratory tract infections in cross-country skiers who actively train in the cold, but whether these infections are caused by cold or other factors, such as intense exercise or dry air, is unknown.

A group of Canadian researchers concluded that there is no need to worry about moderate exposure to cold - it does not have a detrimental effect on the human immune system.

So is it worth wrapping up when it's cold outside? The answer is “yes” if you yourself are uncomfortable or if you intend to be outdoors for long periods of time when there is a risk of problems such as frostbite or hypothermia. In other cases, you don't have to worry about immunity.