10 things that suppress your immune system

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The immune system is a collection of organs, tissues, cells, and enzymes all united under one goal: protect the body.

The main components of the immune system are white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow.

The immune system is important for survival because, without it, the body won’t be able to fight against bacteria and parasites.

This article lists 10 things that suppress your immune system.

1. Anxiety

Stress and worry aren’t a great germ fighters. Having anxiety thought can weaken your immune system response in as a little as 30 minute. Constant stress takes an even bigger toll and makes it harder to fend off the flu, herpes, shingles, and other viruses. Talk to your doctor if you can’t shake your worry or if it gets in the way of normal life.

2. Low Vitamin D

You may know you need it for strong bones and healthy blood cells. But vitamin D also helps boost your immune system. You can get it in eggs, fatty fish, and fortified foods like milk and cereal. Sunlight is another key source. In the summer, just 5-15 minutes of rays on your hands, face, and arms 2-3 times a week usually is enough. In the winter, you might need a bit more.

3. Certain Medications

They include drugs to treat allergies, arthritis, lupus, IBS, and organ transplant. Corticosteroids are one example, as are TNF inhibitors for inflammation and chemotherapy for cancer. Talk with your doctor before you adjust any prescription medication.

4. Too Few Fruits and Veggies

These foods may help your body make more of the white blood cells you need to fight off infections. Fresh produce and nuts and seeds pack a lot of zinc, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E, and other nutrients you need for a healthy body. Plant-based foods also fill you up with fiber, which helps lower your body fat percentage, which can strengthen your immune response.

5. Marijuana

Smoke from pot can inflame your lungs. If you use it regularly, you may have the same breathing problems you can get from nicotine cigarettes. That means coughing up colored mucus called phlegm and a higher chance of lung infections.  

6. Lack of Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise appears to help your body fight illness caused by viruses and bacteria. That’s in part because it helps blood get around your body more efficiently, which means germ-fighting substances get where they need to go. Scientists continue to study exactly how exercise helps boost your immune system.

7. No Sex

Good news! Weekly intimacy seems to help boost your immune system compared to those who have it less often. Sex raises levels of a germ-fighting substance called Immunoglobulin A, or IgA. But more may not always better. Couples who had sex more than twice a week had lower levels of IgA than those who had no sex at all.

8. Alcohol

Just overdoing it once slows your body’s ability to fight germs for up to 24 hours. Over time, drinking too much blunts your body’s ability repair itself. That may be part of the reason you’re more likely to get illnesses like liver disease, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and certain cancers. If you use alcohol, try to keep it to one drink a day for women and two drinks for men.

9. High-Fat Diet

Oils can hinder germ-fighting white blood cells. And high fat diets over time can upset the balance of bacteria in your gut that can help immune response. Look for low-fat dairy with no added sugar, along with lean protein like seafood, turkey, and chicken, or lean cuts of beef with any visible fat cut off. Also, being obese seems to make you more likely to get the flu and other infections, like pneumonia.

10. Consuming too much junk food

Junk food contains too much sugar, which can damage the immune system. Studies show that high sugar intake can suppress your immune system, which may reduce the body’s ability to ward off disease. Instead of taking junk, you can opt for fruits and vegetables.

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