A healthy immune system is important to us all. Is there anything we can do to help keep our immune system in tip top shape?
Recently I was sitting in an office waiting area, peacefully scrolling through my phone when the television on the wall burst out with an ad urging me to boost my immunity and energy. Do I need to boost my immunity? Can I actually boost my immune system or is this in the same camp as my mother telling me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day which according to Dr. Oz isn’t true and it that it needs to include orange juice (first milk goes the way of the almond and now here I am putting a cloud over your orange juice. I’m not anti-orange, quite the opposite, I would just rather see you eat an orange than drink orange juice….but I digress)
I think that most of us understand that the immune system plays a role in keeping us well and fighting germs...but there is much more to it than just that. First, the immune system is exactly that, a system with many components that interacts with other systems in our bodies. Second, the immune system is a function of balance. An overactive immune system response can lead to autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and more. A weakened immune response can leave us vulnerable to viruses and bacterial infections as well as diseases.
So are there things that we can do to make sure our immune system is healthy and balanced?
Yes. In my last blog, I discussed the importance of sleep and how sleep deprivation can affect our bodies. Getting adequate sleep provides a healthy foundation for our immune system. What other things can we do to help provide a healthy foundation? Lifestyle choices that support health and wellness such as a nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, regular exercise, reducing and managing stress and avoiding exposure to illness when possible through frequent hand washing, avoiding crowds during outbreaks and not touching your face (especially eyes and mouth) all help to mitigate the things that can commonly throw our systems out of balance.
Thankfully our bodies have systems that are designed to help protect us. The endocannabinoid system’s receptors are located throughout the body including the immune system. The endocannabinoid system is a modulatory system. Simplified, a modulatory system helps maintain homeostasis by up-regulating as well as down -regulating. So for instance, when the immune system has an overactive immune response which can actually be harmful as in the case of autoimmune disorders, a modulatory system like the endocannabinoid system would attempt to “turn down” the response and return the body to a balanced state. Likewise if a response needs to be “turned up” a modulatory system would function in that manner to restore balance.
Can our system become overwhelmed?
Yes. For example in people who have what we call comorbidities which means that they have more than one condition or disease process, especially chronic ones, occurring at one time, they need to take extra precautions to avoid exposure to illness. For them, an illness can overwhelm their already compromised system and can be fatal.
Currently, we are receiving a lot of information on how to lower exposure risk to protect ourselves and others. This is important and I urge everyone to carefully sift through the guidance they are receiving from credible sources and to respond with adequate levels of caution but avoid panic. We also need to remember these lessons. When the exposure risk declines, let’s make sure we think about future responses and be prepared. Let us also recognize that wellness is not just a fad or buzz word. Wellness is not merely the absence of disease or illness, it is an actively pursued goal that moves us along a continuum towards our own personal optimal state of health and wellbeing.
Please visit CDC.gov for the latest Coronavirus guidelines and recommendations.
Be well Hemp Farmacy friends!
Disclaimer Note To Readers:
This information is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or to be any form of medical treatment and its use is at the discretion and good judgement of the reader. Consult your designated healthcare provider before changing any part of your current medical treatment including supplements, diets, and medications. Please see our website for additional information such as the FDA disclosure.