If you answered yes to one (or several) of these questions, chances are that your immune health may be somewhat subpar. In that regard, let’s take a look at the 6 potential signs of a weak immunity and the steps you can take to boost your immune system against potential infections.
- Stress: You may notice that you can sometimes become unwell after you have completed a big project or undergone a strong emotional experience. This happens because your body secretes cortisol (a stress hormone) which affects the skin’s ability to keep out certain bacteria, a virus or fungi. Prolonged stress can also affect the development of immune cells in your body, and inhibit their ability to fight off infections1.
- Frequent infections: Experiencing frequent and multiple bouts of a cold or flu annually can be a sign of weak immunity. When you get the flu, your immune system kicks into overdrive, causing heatiness and a fever when fighting off an infection. At the same time, your throat can hurt as a result of the cells that line the airway causing inflammation because it is trying to stop the virus from spreading. If you do go through multiple infections in a year, it will cause your immune system to put a great strain on your body, as it needs to produce antibodies at an accelerated rate on a frequent basis
- Tiredness and fatigue: If you are feeling tired - irrespective of how many hours of sleep you get every night- it could be a sign of a weak immunity2. Poor sleep affects the skin's regenerative abilities, which might make the healing of wounds, or the fighting of infections, more difficult.
- Drastic changes in bodyweight: If your weight is not proportionate to your height (i.e. you are overweight/obese or underweight), it could indicate a weak immunity. When you are overweight3, the higher amount of fat cells can cause an increased secretion of certain chemicals by immune cells, resulting in chronic inflammation that can affect the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients. Alternatively, if you are underweight and suffer a nutritional deficiency, your immune system is almost certainly weakened, your bones may be more fragile, and you may feel tired all the time4. And neither of these extremes are good for your immune health.
- Wounds take longer to heal5: Minor injuries that seem to be taking longer than usual to heal could indicate a weak immunity. The reason for this prolonged healing process could be attributed to chronic inflammation (or even age) as our immune system weakens when we grow older.
- Tummy problems: If the balance between good and bad bacteria in your stomach becomes lopsided , it can cause your immune system to go into overdrive. This in turn can lead to diarrhoea, constipation and gas. Often, this is caused by low levels of the “good” bacteria found in our digestive systems.
What you can do to combat a weak immunity
Even if you’ve noticed any of the above signs of weak immunity, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you are looking for ways to boost your immunity, you would be happy to know that there are simple steps you can take to help your weak immunity6. Start forming good immune health habits now by following a few of the simple rules below!
- To avoid infections, wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, or using an alcohol-based gel. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet containing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. This will help to provide your body with an intake of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for healthy immune function. You can also take a vitamin and mineral supplement like Redoxon® that can help you restore the levels of healthy micronutrients in your body7.
- Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve circulation, which are both important factors for healthy immune function.
- Get quality sleep. Give yourself 8 hours of sleep every night and watch your body recover faster.
- Reduce stress. If you find that regular exercise and good sleep hygiene aren’t enough to reduce your stress levels, you can try to incorporate relaxation practices such as meditation or yoga.