Boost Your Immune System : Really?

Almost every client asks me “How do I boost my immune system?”


“Immune boosting” has become a social media trending topic during the “COVID-19 pandemic’’. Here’s some important considerations before you take the plunge and follow google advice on ‘how to boost your immune system’!


Actually, the concept of boosting the immune system is quite misleading and scientifically inaccurate, with the term being used primarily as a marketing tool. Did you know that from April to May 2020, the popular hashtag #immunebooster increased on Instagram posts by over 46%! 


What do we really want?  Bigger better stronger immunity! Not necessarily.

When we get sick with a disease, a cold, or a virus, we wonder why our immune system isn’t working.  It will please you to know however, that these symptoms are actually your active immune system doing its job.  When we get sick, what is really going on is our immune system returning us to balance or homeostasis. 


While  herbs such as echinacea and vitamins such as A, C,  D or E and minerals such as magnesium and zinc are popularly taken in large quantities to ‘boost the immune system’, we must realise that these nutrients will only be effective if we actually have a deficiency or imbalance, and this of course varies from person to person. Some of these nutrients when taken regularly over time can cause more problems than they fix. There is no one size fits all when it comes to wellbeing. 


Often times, an immune system that is boosted to react can be as harmful  as one that doesn’t work well.  Over time, the boosted immune system can become overreactive and simply put, can’t tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy cells, and this can lead to autoimmune disorders such as coeliac disease, Chron’s disease, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.


What we actually want then is a balanced immune system!

The good news… there are 3 important ways we can get this!


1. Exercise : cardiovascular  and resistance exercise every day has been shown to improve health, vitality and longevity, with fewer reports of illness. When we undertake the right types of exercise at the right time of day, we regulate our circadian rhythm, promote happy hormones and assist detoxification. 


2. Healthy diet : Eating mostly a plant based diet with fresh colourful organic fruits and vegetables, along with beans and legumes, seeds and nuts provides all the nutrients we need. Avoiding processed and acid producing foods will allow  good digestive function and abundant energy! Remember to get enough water! 


3. Sleep : good quality sleep allows our brain to detoxify and our body to restore and heal. We all know the benefit of a good nights sleep. Your own sleep requirements are easy to calculate - just count back the number of hours of sleep you’ve had when you wake without an alarm, feeling refreshed and invigorated! 


Article written by Minjayati Angelo

Wellbeing Coach and Naturopath