Q: As I’m getting older, I’m finding that I get sick more often. How can I build my immune system?
A: Researchers believe that older people become more vulnerable to infectious diseases than younger people due to impaired or reduced immune response. That’s why a leading cause of death in people over the age of 65 is respiratory infections like influenza and pneumonia. There are a variety of factors that contribute to a healthy immune system, and even more that contribute to tearing it down. One theory is that the aging immune system actually loses its memory – it forgets that its job is to fight microbes or fails to recognize microbes as the enemy when they appear, so the body is less able to mount an immune defense. Other researchers believe that nutrition is the key, and that micronutrient malnutrition is responsible for the impaired immune response.
Assuming you have no other underlying health issues, the first and best line of defense is living a healthy lifestyle. This means don’t smoke, don’t drink too much alcohol; eat well, get outside in the sun to boost your Vitamin D levels naturally, take regular exercise and get plenty of sleep. Take a good multi-vitamin daily. Avoid overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial products as they can inhibit the growth of good flora in the gut. The good flora is there to keep the bad flora at bay, as well as to stimulate our immune system function. Once things get out of balance, the door is opened to ill health.
Recent studies show that identifying and understanding the role of microbes in the gut may lead to better treatments for health issues like autoimmune disorders, allergies, obesity, and depression. While researchers continue to explore immunity and devise treatments that can potentially prevent disease before it begins – your diet and nutrition are still the biggest boosters you can give to your gut and immune system.
If you feel like you’re getting sick more often as you age, then it’s time to find out what’s going on. Book an appointment today. 480.619.4097