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Physical Wellness

Bad Habits That Produce a Weak Immune System

Maintaining a strong immune system is essential for your survival, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It represents your body’s fighting force against harmful, and sometimes potentially fatal, bacteria and viruses. Many people have a weak immune system, but this weakness remains undetected due to its asymptomatic nature.

Diagnosing and Boosting a Weak Immune System

For many people, it becomes evident that they have a compromised immune system when they fall sick very often. If their body is unable to fight off invading bacteria or viruses in a quick and efficient manner, the germs have enough time to cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, symptoms.

Young sport woman wearing workout sweatshirt sick and coughing with weak immune system.
A Weakened Immune System Also Makes You More Susceptible To Developing Infections Like Bronchitis (Image Source: Shutterstock)

A weakened immune system also makes you more susceptible to developing infections that take longer to treat or become worse over time even with treatment. Examples include pneumonia, meningitis, bronchitis, or skin infections. The frequency of these infections is particularly high in individuals with a weak immune system.

Some people have pre-existing conditions that compromise the efficiency of their immune system, such as auto-immune disorders, inflamed internal organs, blood disorders, or digestive issues. These conditions must be diagnosed as early as possible so they can be managed accordingly.

It is important that you periodically assess the status of your immune system and rectify any potential weaknesses as soon as possible. A simple blood test is able to reveal the status of your immune system to your general physician. 
In case you have weak immunity, your doctor will likely prescribe some immunity booster vitamins. Among the leading causes of a weak immune system is vitamin deficiency, according to experts, so taking a multivitamin supplement is a great way to boost your immunity.

However, there are many other factors that have an impact on your immune system., Immune response can be impacted by old age, toxins in the environment, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, chronic diseases, and lack of sleep, to name a few. If you wish to strengthen your immune system, then you should ditch any immunity-compromising bad habits you can.

Lack of Sleep is Destroying Your Immunity

When you sleep, your body enters into recovery and fights any infections in the body by producing a protein called cytokine to strengthen the immune system. This is the reason people feel the most feverish at night when they are sick. The body increases its temperature to fight infection, and it makes the most effort during sleep.

Cytokines enable the body to fight infections and inflammation, so their production is essential for maintaining an effective immune response. Both the production and release of cytokines occurs during sleep, so any sleep deprivation directly reduces the presence of cytokines in our body. This lack of cytokines can cause a weak immune system.

You should get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night in order to maintain a strong immune response. If you have a poor quality of sleep, there are tips for sleeping better that you can practice to improve your sleep. Some easy sleep-enhancing tips include ensuring your room is super dark, developing a comforting sleep ritual, and taking a sleep-boosting supplement like melatonin, to name a few.

Watch this seven-minute long video to learn more about ways you can improve the quality of your sleep.

Sleep-Deprived and Always Tired? How to Overcome It – Med School Insiders

If you are unable to sleep for seven to eight hours at night, perhaps due to work or personal commitments, then try catching up on your sleep with naps. Although a consistent sleep cycle is recommended for optimal immunity, a 20–30 minute nap can repair some of the damage caused by lack of sleep.

Avoid Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol has a very direct negative impact on the immune system. A high level of alcohol consumption reduces the effectiveness of the immune cells in our body, thereby increasing chances of contracting an infection.

Does Drinking Alcohol Kill Your Gut Bacteria? – SciShow

For example, alcohol consumption destroys fine hairs in your airway, destroying a frontline defense against harmful pathogens and allowing them easier access into the body. Also, research has shown that alcohol destroys immunity-building microorganisms by triggering gut inflammation, reducing the ability of the intestines to maintain optimal immune health.

Research has also connected alcohol consumption with contributing to the worsening of lung diseases, including pulmonary diseases like pneumonia. This might be true in the case of COVID-19 patients, as well.

In addition to its immunity-damaging effects, consuming alcohol also weakens immunity in other ways. For example, when you drink, your body makes it a priority to break down the alcohol immediately, as it cannot be stored by the body like fat or carbs. Such prioritization reduces focus on other key body functions, such as fighting infections.

Also, drinking alcohol is linked with a reduced quality of sleep which, as discussed above, is another factor contributing to a weak immune system.

So, how much can you drink? Experts categorize around fourteen drinks a week, or five drinks at a time, as too much. Consuming such quantities causes a direct suppression of the immune system. But, according to evidence, even smaller quantities of alcohol are not recommended if you want a strong immune system.

If you choose to consume alcohol, then it is recommended to limit drinking to once or twice a week, with no more than three drinks at a time. But, if you have a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease or immuno-suppressing disorders, then you should completely abstain from drinking alcohol if you want to preserve your immune system.

Benefits of Strengthening a Weak Immune System

Maintaining good health is essential to living a fulfilling life. Having strong immunity prevents you from falling ill all the time, and it also reduces your chances of becoming severely ill. With a strong immune system, your body is able to quickly defeat invading pathogens, allowing you to continue with your life without major health-related disruptions.

To strengthen the immune system, you should ditch immunity-compromising habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, chronic lack of sleep, and poor diet, to name a few. This will boost your immune system and give your body a fighting chance against life-threatening pathogens, such as COVID-19.

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