Imagine your immune system as your body’s defense mechanism. Typically, it does a remarkable job of protecting you against invadersーmicroorganisms that cause disease. However, at times, the immune system falls short, letting an invader in, resulting in illness.
To ensure your immune system is able to perform, it’s important you make choices that strengthen it – even before you’re sick. Here are 5 ways to boost your immunity, ensuring you can remain healthy (in all seasons!).
1. Get Enough Sleep
Studies have shown that sleep and the circadian system exert a strong regulatory force on immune functions. It’s not uncommon for work and the daily callings of life to get in the way of a good night’s. However, without proper rest, your body produces fewer cytokines, proteins that target infection and inflammation. During sleep, your body both produces and releases cytokines – so get your recommended seven to nine hours in order to achieve optimal health!
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
It’s common knowledge that a well-balanced diet is important. Studies say that optimal nutrition for the best immunological outcomes would be nutrition which supports the functions of immune cells allowing them to initiate effective responses against pathogens. Immunity begins largely with what you eat. So, eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, veggies, grains, and lean proteins – and be liberal with anti-inflammatory foods like citrus, bell peppers, garlic, ginger, and turmeric
3. Minimize Stress
Stress induces the production of cortisol, which in small amounts can limit inflammation and boost immunity. However, prolonged exposure to cortisol causes further inflammation, as the body becomes accustomed to its presence in the blood. In addition, stress reduces the body’s lymphocytes, white blood cells that combat infection. Limiting stress is plays a major role in fighting illness. While it may seem impossible, there are a number of simple ways to reduce stress – such as yoga, meditation, and exercise.
4. Exercise Regularly
Not only does exercise decrease stress, but it also improves defense activity and metabolic health, which in turn, positively affects the immune system. While the recommended amount of exercise varies per person, a good starting point is 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times per week.
5. Stay Hydrated
As Larry Kenney, Phd, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State puts it, “Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water, and the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our system function, including nerves and muscles.” Not sure how much water to consume? Given your age and weight, this hydration calculator shows how much water you should drink per day.
Through healthy lifestyle choices, you can build your immunity over time. That being said, IV drips are an effective way to quickly give your system a boost. If you are not receiving an adequate amount of nutrients through diet and supplements, your immune system can suffer. Unlike oral nutrient intake, IV drips deliver vitamins and minerals directly to your bloodstream.
With IV drips, nutrients bypass the digestive tract, meaning that you receive their effect almost instantly at a much higher absorption rate. Plus, as mentioned earlier, your body needs fluids – especially when trying to fight off illness. IV drips deliver the hydration your cells require to function at their peak.
There is no denying that a properly functioning immune system begins with simple healthy lifestyle choices. IV drips can act as an auxiliary measure in boosting immunity. Whether you need some added support or want to take precautionary steps in fighting illness, IV drips can be a great option for enhancing immune health.
Getting an IV drip has never been easier. In no time, your immune system will be on the fast track to functioning at its best.
COVID alert: Ivee will reopen in New York sometime in July
Written by Jamie Witherby• December 7, 2018. Originally published by HVMN, modified for use here on Lorieb.
In this article, we won’t just stick to why tea is so tasty. We’ll talk about the positive effects that L-theanine (L-thee-uh-neen) can have on your stress levels, cognitive performance, cardiovascular and immune health.
Tea is coffee’s coy competitor in the cutthroat, yet throat-soothing, world of hot beverages. Both provide daily stimulant boosts, both are great to share with a loved one, and both are steeped in rich and complex histories. But popular teas (like green tea, black tea, and even tea extract and tea constituents) have something coffee doesn’t.
If you have a cup of green or black tea in front of you, take a sip. Savor those tocopherols and flavonoids lending the cup its signature color and flavor. The tea leaves’ distinct bitterness is supplied by natural antioxidants known as catechins.1
There’s another flavor you should be experiencing however. A pleasant, mouth-filling sensation that creates a rounded and savory taste, umami is often called the fifth taste after bitter, sour, sweet, and salty. Tea’s umami flavor is all thanks to the non-protein amino acid, L-theanine.1
A healthy body starts with a healthy brain. L-theanine has proven itself to be a powerful supplement for brain health by assisting with stress, sleep, attention, and memory.
Stress and Anxiety
If you’ve ever brewed a cup of tea to decompress from a stressful day or share with an anxious friend, congratulations—you have fabulous instincts.
Researchers have found L-theanine can reduce our physiological stress responses by altering the behavior of neurotransmitters in the brain.2 This isn’t a slow, thirty-days-to-better-behavior modification process. L-theanine is tough, immediately jumping on defense to supply these benefits.
Taking L-theanine is like hiring a bodyguard for your brain.
Our brains balance activity through excitatory (upper) and inhibitory (downer) neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of some of the major excitatory neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. The balance can shift however, through an excess of these excitatory neurotransmitters. A shift can cause classic responses we’re familiar with like stress, anxiety, and the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (AKA the fight-or-flight response).
Taking L-theanine to mimic gamma-aminobutyric acid (a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain) can inhibit these excitatory responses and ease their physiological stress responses. This will allow you to enjoy a lower heart rate,2 lower blood pressure,3 attenuation of the fight-or-flight response,2 and reduced cortisol levels (major stress hormone).2,3
If the classic calming effect isn’t revealing enough, let’s pull back the covers on how deeply relaxing L-theanine can be.
To catch some Zs, first we have to catch some waves.
During sleep, it’s all about theta waves and delta waves. Theta waves occur in the first stages of sleep, generating two distinct rhythms of greater amplitude and lower frequency than the waking beta waves. Delta waves are the lowest frequency, highest amplitude waves generated during the deepest stages of sleep. Right before sleep, when you’re still in that daydream-like, relaxed state, it’s all about the alpha waves. The brain generates alpha waves during deeply relaxing activities such as meditation.4,5
If you struggle to feel peaceful during meditation or get your mind to achieve that quiet calm right before bed, L-theanine can take you there. Studies have shown that L-theanine can generate alpha brain waves in the parietal and occipital regions of the brain, leading to a prolonged calming effect.4,5 In a placebo-controlled study of young individuals with ADHD, L-theanine proved especially effective in helping them get to sleep and experience deep sleep.6
Sleep problems are often a concern for individuals with ADHD, and L-theanine proved to be a safe and effective therapy to improve sleep quality.
Focus and Attention
L-theanine has the power to both calm you down in the evenings and provide a boost in the morning. You know those days; lack of quality sleep the night before leaves you dull, each excruciating minute stretched out between sips of coffee. All that coffee can have a negative build up, leading to a jittery, on edge feeling while desperately trying not to fidget during your conference room presentation.
The same amino acid that ushers you into dreamland can also deliver an attentive state of mind. Multiple human studies show that consuming L-theanine can increase focus, reaction times, and visual processing while reducing mental fatigue.7,8 Essentially, subjects in these human studies performed attention tasks better after taking L-theanine. Their overall mental performance improved.
Even when the mind is in a relaxed state and creating those alpha waves, it’s focused. Consider meditation: its goal is mindfulness, focusing on an inner calm. Meditating is a form of dialed-in concentration that also happens to be calming.
Maybe you’re a master of mornings but you can’t remember the names of many of your closest coworkers. Enter L-theanine, which can assist with memory.9
To be clear: drinking a single cup of green tea will not suddenly remind you of where you left your keys. However, consuming L-theanine over time could help protect the neurons in your brain from injury or cognitive impairment and contribute to the development of the hippocampus. That’s the part of your brain responsible for storing memories9 not the future academic grounds of the large semi-aquatic African mammal.
Start young, and you could even stand a better chance against the oxidative damage and memory impairment of Alzheimer’s.1 Oh, and remember how we talked about L-theanine reducing cortisol levels? Cortisol can negatively impact memory retrieval.11 Reduce cortisol levels, and you may be able to retrieve those memories a little more easily.
We’ve touched upon what L-theanine can do for the brain, but let’s not forget about its benefits for the body. L-theanine couldn’t let your brain have all the fun. So freshen up your tea, and let’s talk about what your new amino acid can do for your body.
Unfortunately, L-theanine is not the cure for the common cold. It has however been linked to increased protection against the flu and a boost in immune function when combined with another amino acid, L-cystine.12 This combination improves the production of Immunoglobin G (IgG), an antibody with a vendetta against infection, and glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant.12
Antioxidants are valuable because they help our bodies remove free radicals. Free radicals are these unpaired, unstable, thieving little molecules that steal electrons from our lipid cell membranes (also called lipid peroxidation). The theft causes tissue and muscle damage and contributes to some of the big name diseases out there: diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. L-theanine has demonstrated powerful antioxidative properties.13,14,15
Because antioxidants help us remove the free radicals that lead to cardiovascular problems like heart disease, L-theanine can do some pretty amazing things for heart health.
Leaves from both green and black tea have been shown to improve cardiovascular health all on their own.16,17 L-theanine sweetens the deal through its ability to mitigate blood pressure increases when the user undergoes acute stress. Translation? Less strain on the heart.18
Supplementing with L-theanine
Not a fan of green tea or black tea? Healthy adults can safely and easily supplement L-theanine at a dosage of 100-200 mg per day, a staggering five to ten times higher concentration than what you’ll find in a cup of green tea.1 So even if you’re already pounding cup after cup of the umami taste bomb, you may not be enjoying all of its benefits…or at least not as efficiently. Consider supplementing with L-theanine to warm up for your day or to cool down at the end of it.
L-theanine hasn’t been linked to any adverse side effects or symptoms in the neuropharmacology sphere. Keep in mind though, that it should not be mixed with medications for high blood pressure because L-theanine reduces blood pressure. As with all new supplements and medications, consult with your healthcare provider before taking.
Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or a tenacious tea drinker, your mind and body will enjoy the benefits of adding L-theanine to the mix. To recap, those are:
Reduced levels of stress and anxiety
Increased sleep quality
Increased focus, attention, and memory
Increased immune function
Increased cardiovascular health
No matter what’s in your cup, we can all raise a glass to those benefits.
If you google just about any health ailment or nagging symptom, sleep deprivation will be on the list of possible causes. Why is that? Because people are just too (potentially dangerously so) busy and plugged in to sleep these days. When we do sleep, we don’t sleep well.
From small children to retirement age, our lives are jam packed with structure and technology, leaving no (or very little) down time. If you ask a retiree, they will most likely tell you one of the most enjoyable things about retiring is the ability to nap when you want.
What can you do to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep to ward off sleep deprivation? Start by unplugging yourself, literally and figuratively, at least four hours before your bedtime. Instead of focusing on the screens of a television, game console, computer or cell phone, shut them down. Read a book, cook and savour a nice meal, or go out for a drink or meal with a friend or loved one. Sans the phone.
This applies to your children too. Remember, you are their most influential teacher. They will pick up your unhealthy habits just as easily as your good ones. They do need routine in their lives, but organized structure not so much. Kids also need down time instead of being shuttled from event to event.
Sleep deprivation shows up in their behaviour and their health. Research has shown that overly active (organized) kids tend to suffer from anxiety, which in turn leads to poor quality of sleep. It is very easy to cut back on their organized activities. Let them play at home with their siblings and parents. Bring back the board games of our youth. Encourage older kids to read books or experiment in the kitchen. Simply slow down their lives, especially before bed time.
Think of your brain as a computer that controls your body. Even the best computers need to reboot or update regularly to stay efficient and healthy. Similarly, every cell in your body, especially those in your brain, needs down time to repair and recuperate from everything we throw at them. They can only do that when we sleep. When we don’t provide these cells with quality sleep to perform this maintenance on a regular basis, sleep deprivation sets in and cells start to break down, causing all those symptoms you are googling about.
I love reading about the recommended supplements in Dr Connealy’s newsletters, especially when the suggested supplements are aimed at symptoms I suffer from. As we age, we cannot help but notice the changes in our bodies. Our skin loses elasticity, gains wrinkles and loses that youthful glow. Our internal organs, our eyes, our joints and our brains do not work as well as they used to.
My problem is, every supplement I take gives me side effects that are often worse than the original symptoms of aging. My solution is to research foods that provide or encourage the formation of the beneficial ingredient contained in the supplement. I then incorporate these foods into my daily diet. I realize that these supplements provide a much more concentrated form of these wonderful ingredients, but I figure every bit helps.
For example, the newsletter referred to above describes the wonders of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally in our bodies. Melatonin is responsible for enhancing our sleep so our bodies can recharge properly. Without adequate sleep we can suffer from brain fog, muscles aches, anxiety, weight gain due to increased appetite and a weakened immune system. Check out a previous post of mine about sleep deprivation.
Unfortunately, as we age the production of melatonin is reduced. Our options to increase melatonin are to take a supplement or to increase our intake of foods that encourage the formation of melatonin in our bodies. These foods include pineapple, bananas, oranges, walnuts, almonds, cherry juice and dairy products.
Another wonderful ingredient recommended by Dr Connealy is curcumin which is derived from turmeric root. I have added ground turmeric to my soups, stews, tea, smoothies and stir frys for the past few months, ever since I read that it helps relieve joint pain. Another previous post describes the benefits of curcumin or turmeric. I believe that I have noticed a reduction in joint pain associated with arthritis. This is even more significant for me this time of year since the cold weather usually brings an increase in arthritis symptoms.
To see if I can increase melatonin production naturally, I plan to experiment for the next while, making myself a smoothie before bedtime using pineapple, banana, orange, almond milk, cherry juice and yogurt. I will keep you posted!
Fat storage is directly linked to two hormones; insulin and cortisol. Insulin is controlled by the food you eat, and cortisol is controlled by the amount of stress in your life. Increases in either or both of these hormones causes your body to store fat. Unfortunately, poor food choices and stress often occur together, and like the chicken and the egg story, which one comes first is debatable….
Eating the wrong carbohydrates (sugar, bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, processed snacks etc) causes increases of insulin in your body. Eating good carbohydrates (quinoa, fruit, vegetables, bread with sprouted grains) controls your blood sugar and insulin levels.
To help keep your insulin level in check and keep your body in a fat burning zone, follow these simple steps:
Read labels: avoid -processed and packaged foods like cereals, muffins, chips, crackers, genetically modified corn, soy and wheat, hydrogenated oils, canola oil, corn syrup, margarine, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
These products not only increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, they are treated as foreign toxins in your body, causing inflammation in many organs. Avoiding these products will not only make you lose weight, but other health issues such as eczema, asthma, arthritis, will improve too.
Stick to the outer aisles in the grocery stores; they contain the fresh produce, meat, dairy etc, while the inner aisles typically hold the bad stuff.
Clean out your kitchen pantry, getting rid of any of the above items.
To control cortisol levels, try to reduce the stresses in your life by following these steps:
–Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation stresses your body. If you cannot get enough at night, try to sneak in a nap during the day, since even a short 30 minute nap is beneficial for you.
–Get some, but not too much exercise. An exercise regime that is too strenuous will temporarily stress your body, causing a spike in your cortisol level. Your exercise regime does not have to be complicated or expensive. Go for a brisk walk every day, or at least every second day.
–Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people are stressors you do not need.
–Spend more time doing the things you like to do. Take up a new hobby or rediscover an old one.
Other points to remember:
Good fats burn body fat: Avoid margarine, canola and hydrogenated oils. Choose eggs, olive oil, avocado, almonds, coconut oil and cold water fish.
Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle around with you while running errands, chauffeuring your kids, and especially while exercising. Add a splash of lemon juice to your water to liven up the taste.