Back to Function is a healthcare office that cares about more than just the health of your spine, as we care about your overall health and well-being. As a result, we encourage daily exercise and healthy nutrition habits in addition to chiropractic care and soft tissue therapy. Part of being a healthy human, is having a robust immune system. We have identified ways you can boost your immune system function in order to help prevent those annoying cold & flu symptoms from knocking you down and out. In order to give yourself the best chance at staying healthy and cold/flu-free, focus on these immune system boosters:
- Immune-boosting Nutrition
- Immune-boosting Supplements
- Nose Breathing
- Sinus Rinses
- Nebulizer Breathing
- Immune-boosting Essential Oil Diffuser
- Chiropractic Care
Nothing compares to getting adequate sleep when it comes to staying healthy. Sleep is an important period of bodily rest, and studies indicate that sleep plays a crucial role in the robustness of our immune system. Researchers have found that insufficient sleep makes it more likely to succumb to a cold or flu. If you need some guidance on better sleep, check out Sleep & Athletic Performance for useful tips on sleep help.
2. Immune-boosting Nutrition
Foods That Strengthen the Immune System
Foods That Weaken the Immune System
- excessive alcohol
- inflammatory oils and rancid fats
- refined grains
- processed carbs and added sugars
- processed meat
- seafood high in mercury and other toxins
- heavy metals such as cadmium
For a more detailed look into a nutrition program that will bolster your healthy immune system function and also help you lose weight, please see BTF Metabolic Optimization Program.
3. Immune-boosting Supplements
Supplements aren’t necessary for everyone, but many of us need a little help to complement our diet. Here are some recommendations for supplementation (adults) that we use at BTF.
Supplements That Can Help Strengthen the Immune System
Moderate levels of exercise can provide a big boost to your immune system function. Uninterrupted walking of 30+ minutes per day is a must for your overall health and well-being. Set a goal of 10,000+ steps per day. Strength training for 30-45 minutes at 2-3 days per week can also provide a good stimulus for your immune system function. For some ideas on designing your walking/workout plan, please see Back to Function Health & Fitness Home Exercise Program
5. Nose Breathing
Your nose is designed to help you breathe safely, efficiently, and properly. It can do this by its ability to:
- Filter out foreign particles. Nasal hair filters out dust, allergens, and pollen, which helps prevent them from entering your lungs.
- Humidify inhaled air. Your nose warms and moisturizes the air you breathe in. This brings the air you inhale to body temperature, making it easier for your lungs to use.
- Produce nitric oxide. During nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide (NO). NO is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body.
Nasal breathing is much better for you than mouth breathing. It can improve relaxation, reduce stress, improve circulation, and support restorative sleep. Proper nasal breathing throughout the day is, therefore, critical for your health and well-being.
For great strategies to improve your nose breathing, please read:
6. Sinus Rinses
Sinus congestion and clogged nasal passageways is a classic sign of your immune system excreting waste products during a cold/flu. Using a Neti Pot can help relieve upper respiratory congestion and get you breathing through your nose more efficiently, which can assist your immune system.
7. Nebulizer Breathing
This is a simple device that produces a fine mist that you breathe in through your nose. I have been using a portable nebulizer, purchased on Amazon, that works very well and have been using a combination of filtered water, teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and a dropper full of colloidal silver. This has really helped clear out my nasal passageways and allows me to breathe freely through my nose. Check out the short demonstration video below:
8. Immune-boosting Essential Oil Diffuser
A nebulizer diffuser uses an atomizer, which creates a thin stream of airborne particles. These fine particles are then blown through the room with a quiet fan dispersing them into the air. Essential oils such as oregano, peppermint, tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender or rosemary can be added to filtered water in the diffuser. Essential oils have long been used as a natural treatment in order to provide relief for sinus congestion and relief from a stuffy nose. These essential oils smell great and provide a feeling of well-being while helping us get back to breathing clearly through our nasal passages.
There has been some interesting research showing a link between chiropractic adjusting of the spine and the body’s immune system. A research article from 1993, published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia, demonstrated that the central nervous system is responsible for modulating the immune response, so it is not a difficult stretch to see that if the nervous system is not functioning at full capacity, neither will the immune response, and vice versa. This 1993 study demonstrated that chiropractic adjusting positively influenced T and B lymphocyte numbers, NK cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma beta-endorphin levels, all of which play a role in the body’s immune response.
A later study from 2010, published in the journal Chiropractic & Osteopathy, took a closer look at this relationship between the central nervous system and the body’s immune response by measuring immunoglobulin G before and after chiropractic adjusting of the spine. For this study, the researchers took a group of 74 healthy subjects and were randomly assigned to receive spinal manipulation with cavitation (that’s the cracking sound!), spinal manipulation without cavitation, or a control group that underwent venipuncture for blood samples, but without manipulation. The spinal manipulation groups underwent blood draws before manipulation, and then 20 minutes and two hours after treatment. Immunoglobulin G was significantly increased at the 20 minute & 2 hour mark in both groups of subjects who underwent spinal manipulation. The researchers concluded that spinal manipulation, with or without cavitation, positively increased the body’s immune response.
This is exciting research that suggests that chiropractic care has the ability to help boost your immune system function!
If you have questions regarding nutrition and your health, please contact us at email@example.com or call 310-534-1900. At BTF, our goal is to get you to FEEL-RECOVER-PERFORM BETTER today!
Dinocolantonio, James et al. The Immunity Fix. 2020.
Prather, A. A., Janicki-Deverts, D., Hall, M. H., & Cohen, S. (2015). Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sleep, 38(9), 1353–1359.
Allen JM. (1993). The effects of chiropractic on the immune system: A review of the literature.Chiropractic Journal of Australia, 23(4), 132-135.
Teodorczyk-Injeyan JA, McGregor M, Ruegg R, Injeyan HS. (2010). Interleukin 2-regulated in vitro antibody production following a single spinal manipulative treatment in normal subjects.Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 18, 26.