Your Mighty Immune System: Part Deux

If you missed last week’s Article of the Week, make sure you grab a copy and read it along with this one.

The human immune system is an incredibly complex system that relies on many communication pathways to be healthy. A research study performed at Harvard Medical School in 2019 showed a direct connection between nerves and immune system response. When mice were infected with Salmonella bacteria, the researchers determined that nerve cells in the gut sent signals to the brain and released chemicals into the gut. These chemicals (neurotransmitters) told the intestine lining to change so the bacteria couldn’t enter the body.

“The nerve system doesn’t merely detect the presence of infections, it actively defends the body against them.”

Another research paper published in 2017 showed that when the vagus nerve of mice was severed, it took them longer to heal from an infection with E. coli bacteria. The vagus nerve represents the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest, heal and digest), which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions, including control of mood, immune response, digestion, and heart rate.

Those sound like great studies, but what does that mean for you? Well…I’m glad you asked that question!

1. Get enough vitamin D3. The best way, of course, is to get sun because the UV light stimulates your body to make your own vitamin D3. If you can’t, a supplement is your next best option.
2. Move your body! This helps stimulate nerves, drain lymphatic fluid, improve spinal disc and joint health as well as improve circulation.
3. Get your Omega 3s. You can get healthy fats in chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds and fish. If you can’t, a supplement is your next best option.
4. Drink more water. This is the easiest one. If you have too much, you have this handy thing called a bladder that will take care of you.
5. Go to bed on time. When you sleep, your brain cells shrink up to 60% so that the fluid in your brain can clean out any plaques that have formed.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/12/nervous-system-actively-stops-salmonella-from-infecting-body/

https://www.cell.com/immunity/fulltext/S1074-7613(16)30514-3

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