THE TRUTH ABOUT… BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNITY
The BBC Programme ‘The Truth About Boosting Your Immunity’ is really fascinating clearly showing the link between gut health and your immunity. You can watch it on catch up here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000r0hx
Balancing Your Immune System
Led by Professor Sheena Cruickshank and Dr Ronx Ikharia, the show aims to debunk some of the myths about boosting immunity as well as providing some science-based guidance on how to keep your immune system in balance.
The balance bit is really important – you don’t want an over-active immune response. They focus on the Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) – the balance between two types of white blood cells:
* Lymphocytes determine the immune response to a threat
* Neutrophils provide the rapid response
A healthy person should have a low NLR, a good balance between the two, so that the immune cells work most efficiently. So what can you do to impact this?
The 6 Week Study Key
Dr Ronx and 6 volunteers undertook as series of activities aiming to reduce the NLR. The key take outs in terms of what can help boost your immunity were:
Eat more fibre – at least 30g per day of a diverse range of fibre helps feed your good bacteria producing short chain fatty acids like butyrate. The section of the programme (about 30 mins in) showing how butyrate can fight infection was stunning.
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Get at least 7 hours sleep – a study showed that those getting less than 7 hours were 3x as likely to get a cold as those getting more than 8 hours sleep.
Sleep also seems to be when your t-cells identify infection more quickly, allowing a speedier response to attack.
Take moderate exercise – nothing ridiculous, getting yourself warm and your heart beating; around 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 mins of moderate exercise per week.
Manage stress – small amounts of stress (say from a cold shower or a quick cold water swim) can bring positive benefits, but long term stress is not a good thing and needs to be carefully managed.
Dr Ronx also shows the negative impact of alcohol on your immune system, the negligible effect of supplements (with the exception of Vitamin D which we should all take NOW) and the surprisingly positive effects of a massage!
Much of what was covered in the show is also contained in our FREE downloadable ‘Gut Health & Immunity Support Pack‘. Please feel free to download and share this and make use of the resources.