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As winter approaches, do you find you catch every cold or flu bug going? Do your little ones pass coughs and sniffles around as if they were toys? Although it may seem like it’s just bad luck whether or not you succumb to a bacterial or viral infection, in truth it’s all about your immune system and how effectively it’s able to protect you.
Your immune system is your invisible defence against bacteria and viruses, so given a little support it can work harder for you. Read on to discover how to nurture your immune system this winter.
Your immune system is your internal protection against invaders. It works tirelessly to prevent bacteria and viruses from getting into your body, and if they breach those defences, it will hunt them down and destroy them.
Your immune system is an army of white blood cells patrolling your body ready to identify any threats and react accordingly. They do this 24/7, usually without you being aware of their work.
How your immune system is functioning will affect whether you suffer from colds and flu in the first place, how severe your symptoms are, and how long the infections hang around.
The white cells patrolling your body in search of invaders travel around in your bloodstream to wherever they’re needed. But it might surprise you to learn the vast majority of your immune system is found in your gut. The beneficial bacteria naturally resident in your digestive system, known as your microbiome, teach your immune cells what is dangerous and what isn’t. This ensures your internal army reacts appropriately to harmful substances and doesn’t attack harmless substances.
If your immune system mistakes innocuous particles like pollen for invaders, allergies will be the result, a common issue over the summer for many people. Sometimes, immune cells attack parts of the body, and this type of immune dysfunction is called autoimmunity. Examples of autoimmune diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 diabetes.
The bacteria in your gut also control the production and development of white blood cells, so they’re responsible for the ongoing effectiveness of your immune system, too.
You are unique – the above suggestions are general guidelines only. An in-depth consultation with a Functional Medicine practitioner will detect any nutrient deficiencies and assess how your lifestyle and genetic inheritance may be impacting your immune health. Following this, a personalised programme will support your immune health throughout the winter and beyond.
Are you concerned about your immune system? Why not book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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