The immune system has been a hot topic in recent years, and it seems like everybody's looking for ways to boost their immune systems. But how do you know your immune system even needs help in the first place?
The human body is a finely tuned network of interconnected systems. The vast majority of the time, they work properly together, and when something goes wrong, the body has a variety of ways to let you know about it. Unfortunately, we can become so used to some of these symptoms that we don't even realize there's a problem.
Knowing what signs to watch out for is the first step toward bringing your body back into balance. Take a look at some signs that your immune system is struggling, and then learn some ways you can help restore a sense of balance and well-being.
1. Always Tired
Occasional tiredness is normal, and outside circumstances can often affect your sleep schedule. But if you find that you're tired or even fatigued a majority of the time, it might be because your body is working overtime to keep you healthy.
Unusual tiredness is a common sign that your body is diverting more energy than usual to your immune system in order to fight off a bug.
2. Slow Healing
Your body is designed to heal itself, and it uses the immune system to do it. If you find that wounds don't heal as quickly, even something as small as a scrape, this can be a sign that your immune system is compromised.
Over time, wounds that are reluctant to heal can also leave you vulnerable to additional illnesses — the skin is your body's first line of defense.
3. Digestive Problems
According to an article by Dr. Nadia Hasan, nearly 70% of the immune system is found in the digestive tract. The bacteria in your gut are always hard at work against invading germs, and disruption can lead to a range of digestive issues.
If you've been dealing with a sour stomach or unexplained diarrhea or constipation, your immune system might be working overtime and potentially damaging your digestive tract.
4. Unexplained Weight Changes
Some immune system problems can stem from issues with the thyroid gland — if this is the case, you might notice seemingly random weight fluctuations, whether you're gaining weight or losing it. If you haven't changed your habits but are gaining or losing weight, you may want to speak to your doctor about hypothyroidism.
5. Frequent Illness or Infection
The common cold is just that: common. Generally, it takes less than a week for your body to fight off a cold, and the average person will catch a few colds a year. But if you seem to always be battling the sniffles, it might be because your immune system is fighting off a bigger threat than the common cold.
Frequent infections can be a sign of immune problems too. Multiple ear and sinus infections may indicate that your immune system can't keep up, and if you need more than two courses of antibiotics in a year, you should speak to your doctor.
6. Various Aches and Pains
Headaches, joint pain, and dry eyes can also be signals that your immune system needs some help. Inflammation can lead to these and similar issues and is often caused by infections or autoimmune diseases.
How You Can Help
There's not actually a specific way to boost just your immune system, but there is a lot you can do to support your body's overall good health, which will support a healthy immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep gives your body time to recover energy and helps to restore homeostasis.
Wash Your Hands
We all know how important handwashing is. And we may even be tired of hearing about it — but it's true: handwashing is one of the most reliable ways to prevent spreading and contracting illnesses. Wash up before and after preparing food, before eating, after using the bathroom, after touching any animals, and frequently while traveling.
Stress and the immune system are very closely related, and when you're stressed, you're more likely to get sick. Finding healthy ways to manage stress may be just the boost your immune system is looking for.
Regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy in body and mind. However, too much or too intense exercise can lead to more physical stress and may weaken the immune system. If you are battling an illness, don't be afraid to take some rest days or scale back your workout routine.
Eat Healthy Foods
Healthy eating is one of the best ways to stay, well, healthy! Fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables, are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Poultry is a great source of vitamins, too, as well as protein, and yogurt offers protein, calcium, and healthy bacteria (look for “live and active cultures”)
Herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, and turmeric are also good sources of vitamins and other helpful compounds that may support the immune system.
There's a lot of research left to do, but traditional remedies and “old wives' tales” clearly have some merit. And CBD's effect on the endocannabinoid system also plays a vital role in keeping your body in homeostasis.
As we've learned over the last few weeks, stress, immune health, and sleep quality are incredibly intertwined. They each affect the others, and when one suffers, the others do too. When you're stressed, you're more vulnerable to illness and probably aren't getting great sleep. From the other direction, a bad night's sleep can affect your mood and make you more susceptible to germs.
Thankfully, you can do a lot to support your body with the tips above. Incorporating CBD can also help. CBD supports the body by supporting the endocannabinoid system, which, in turn, affects things like pain, metabolism, immune system, sleep, and many others. If you're looking for targeted support, HempLucid's Stacks line-up is designed to do just that.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is presented purely for educational purposes and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. As always, consult your doctor before introducing a new supplement to your routine.
6 Signs You Have a Weakened Immune System; Nadia Hasan, DO; Penn Medicine; accessed 06/2022
16 Symptoms of Immune System Problems; Stephanie Booth; WebMD; accessed 06/2022
How to boost your immune system; Harvard Health Publishing; accessed 06/2022
15 Foods That Boost the Immune System; James Schend; Healthline; accessed 06/2022
A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System; Crystal Raypole; Healthline; accessed 06/2022