Your Immunity Guide: 3 Key Areas of Your Day to Monitor and What Biomarkers to Track 

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As cold and flu season sets in, one key mistake is waiting until the risk is higher to prepare. Your body needs a running start to lay a strong foundation of immunity, so that when we’re in situations where we’re more susceptible to colds and flus, our body is ready to take it on and fight it.

We’ve got you covered with prevention habits and tips + what to track to see how your immunity is progressing from your efforts. 

Area 1: Personal Hygiene & Lifestyle

1. Wash your hands: Hand washing after touching contaminated surfaces may be the most powerful way to limit exposure. It’s also pretty easy to incorporate. This is because we touch openings on our faces – eyes, nose, mouth – many times per day, so what we do with our hands significantly impacts our immunity. 

Try picking one or two activities you do daily – such as returning home after walking the dog, or getting the mail – and commit to washing your hands immediately after.

2. Regularly make time to incorporate exercise: Our medical director Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi believes that “the single most effective thing you can do for your immune system is engage in various types of regular exercise. This stimulates expression of various immune factors and can substantially decrease your risk of all types of infections.” 

Whether it’s a few laps around the block to start your morning, or streaming free workouts you can find on YouTube and other services that offer monthly or annual access, regularly setting aside time for yourself to get moving can help boost your immunity.

3. Create and stick to a sleep routine: Rest is a proactive action to protect your immunity. 

Sleep is so important. While one sleepless night won’t hurt, chronic sleep deprivation can take a toll on the body and is connected to lowered immunity, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, in addition to fatigue, stress, irritability, cognitive impairment, imbalanced mood, memory loss.

Try creating a step-by-step “get ready for bed” routine for yourself that fits your schedule and needs, and then follow it as consistently as you can. Include all the steps you want – how you get ready for bed, when you adjust the lights, and even what time you limit your phone/laptop/TV/social media or any screen use. 

If you’re tired all the time or suffering from poor quality sleep, check out 4 reasons that could explain why. 

Area 2: Nutrition

1. Actively work to limit or avoid sugar in your everyday nutrition. WellnessFX practitioners Karen Graham and Dr. Ross Pelton both warn that a moderate dose of sugar suppresses the immune system for 5-6 hours, lowering the body’s ability to fight off infection. Sugar can be found hiding in many foods, such as yogurt, coconut water, and sauces. 

A sign of too much sugar is inflammation a.k.a. the body’s response to internal damage. We’ll talk more about inflammation and the biomarker hs-CRP below. 

You can start making this habit by simply reading labels. A quick flip of the package you’re considering will train you to make it a habit of reading what’s in your food. 

2. Eat the foods that support your immunity: Eating refined, processed foods are known to increase inflammation, diabetes, and insulin resistance, while eating nutrient-dense foods help your body stave off disease and function better, from immune system and muscle function, to heart and blood health, and even eye health.

Munch to manage from the inside out by eating foods rich in vitamin A, D and C. Red/orange vegetables and fruits are all rich in vitamin A and C – think sweet red peppers, carrots, spinach and broccoli. 

Vitamin D-rich foods include eggs, and fatty fish such as sockeye salmon, mackerel, sardines, and grass-fed, fortified dairy, such as milk and yogurt

Don’t wait until you’re sick to eat healthy foods – there’s evidence against that

Area 3: Gut Health

1. Don’t neglect your gut health. Did you know that almost 70 percent of the immune system is regulated in your gut. 

When the small intestine lining is compromised, via an imbalance of that good and bad bacteria, the non-nutritive materials can slip into your bloodstream. The end result of this is your immune system launches a response, resulting in inflammation.

Inflammation also is the underlying theme in preventable chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases, and autoimmune diseases. 

When it comes to eating the foods that promote good gut health, two keywords to help you here: “Fiber” and “Fermented.” Get the list here.

2. Drink water regularly: Water consumption is an important part of overall health – your body depends on it. 

Water also naturally improves digestion to help break down foods so that your body can absorb the nutrients, as detailed by the Mayo Clinic.

Tip: Water-soluble vitamins, like those found in broccoli, spinach, avocado, and lean meats, dissolve in water. These vitamins are carried to the body’s tissues –  but are not stored in the body – and are found in plant and animal foods or dietary supplements; They must be taken in daily, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

So if you’re doing the work to eat toward health and for your gut, drinking water is going to compliment those efforts. Read here for more tips and tricks to help you drink more water.

Your Check List of Biomarkers to Monitor Regularly For Immunity

What to Track (and Why)

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count), including white blood cell count and distribution of immune cells.  A CBC measures your major cell types.  Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissues for metabolism.  White blood cells are your predominant immune cells. Platelets are your main clotting cells.  In addition, a CBC can tell you if your red blood cells lack certain nutrients or have other abnormalities and the amounts of specific types of immune cells.  White blood cells defend the body against disease and are a major component of the body’s immune system. The normal number of WBCs in the blood is 4,500-10,000 white blood cells per microliter (mcL).
  • Vitamin D, a core regulator of the immune system that many of us are deficient in. One of the easiest ways to boost immunity is manage your Vitamin D levels. According to the Mayo Clinic, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 IU for those 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age. Stay on top of supplementation and sunshine – both are important. It is important for us to mention that in a Vitamin D discussion we’ve held before where we talked about how it is important to be aware that too much Vitamin D may actually be bad. According to a study done by Johns Hopkins University, too much vitamin D can actually contribute to inflammation.  Find your own Vitamin D set point with periodic testing of the biomarker mentioned next, hsCRP.
  • hs-CRP: hs-CRP (High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein) is a marker of inflammation. Inflammation impairs the immune system. hs-CRP is a marker for the overall amount of inflammation in the body and can be an indicator for health and a general marker for chronic disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes II, arthritis, and alzheimer’s. Why does hsCRP matter? Because if your body’s inflammatory mediators are chronically busy, they have a harder time stepping in to prevent and fight acute illness. While there are a few ways to test for inflammation, it turns out that hsCRP is the one of the best indicators currently known.
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), including major organ function, blood sugar, and electrolytes associated with hydration

How WellnessFX Can Help

WellnessFX is now offering a custom panel designed with your immunity in mind. This limited-time diagnostic package tests markers and panels listed above, such as:

  • CBC (Complete Blood Count), including white blood cell count and distribution of immune cells
  • hs-CRP, a marker of inflammation (which impairs the immune system)
  • Vitamin D, a core regulator of the immune system that many of us are deficient in
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), including major organ function, blood sugar, and electrolytes associated with hydration
  • 🩸Your Blood Type 🩸

. Current pricing is $124 and it’s accessible for purchase through this link.

Regular blood screening is crucial for understanding your hormones, tracking progress, and measuring your associated risk, to hopefully stop a problem before it becomes a problem.

 

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.