What Weakens Your Immune System?

by Dr. Michael Nowazek

Your immune system is your body’s defense against virus, bacteria, and other infections. You need a strong immune system to stay healthy.

There are many things you can do to help strengthen your immune system. There are different vitamins and herbs that you can take to help build up your immune system. It’s impossible for me to say which ones everyone should take and in what doses because everyone is different. A person’s health history, current health issues, medications they may be taking, and other factors make everyone’s requirements unique.

One of the most effective things you can do to help keep your immune system strong, and something you can do right now, is to avoid those things that weaken it.

The top three things that will weaken your immune system are refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.

Refined sugar depresses your immune system because it inhibits the activity of the white blood cells. The white blood cells create antibodies and actively attack virus and bacteria. If the white blood cells are inhibited, their ability to create this attack force is lowered.

Processed foods may be convenient and some of them may be tasty, but they’re certainly not good for your immune system. Processed foods almost always contain added sugar, added salt, added fat, and such things as artificial colours and sweeteners, all of which can interfere with your immune system. Try to stay away from processed foods and stick with whole foods, those that have been processed as little as possible and are free of additives.

Alcohol can damage the portion of your immune system that lives in your bowels. It affects how vitamins are absorbed and uses them up, depriving your immune system of the vitamins it needs. Alcohol also disrupts the gut barrier (a physical barrier surface that prevents bacteria and virus from passing into the blood).

There are other things that can weaken your immune system such as toxicity, food sensitivities, protein deficiencies, and other health issues but these three things – refined sugar, alcohol, and processed foods – can weaken anyone’s defense against infections. 

The degree to which your immune system is damaged by sugar, alcohol, and processed foods depends on how much of them you consume. The more of these items you eat and drink, the more your immune system is weakened. If you can eliminate or at least minimize your intake of those three things, you stand a better chance of staying healthy.

Your immune system needs protein, it needs good bacteria in the bowel, it needs vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients. Everyone is different and the specific amounts of these things will vary from person to person. You should consult your naturopathic doctor to get a customized plan that meets your requirements.

Even though our clinic is temporarily closed to help to flatten the coronavirus contagion curve, our doctors are still virtually available to patients via video and telephone. We are available to all of our patients with a virtual follow-up consultation so your care continues with little or no interruption. You can book online or call the office at (780) 485-9468.

For a downloadable version of this article, click here.

Dr. Michael Nowazek

Dr. Michael Nowazek is the Clinical Director of Green Apple Health Care. He brings a wealth of knowledge from his extensive training and his many years experience as a naturopathic doctor.

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