Your immune system is a powerful collection of organs and cells that wards off illness and keeps you healthy. But what immune system boosters are best for your health? And what commonly weakens your immune system?
In many ways, healthy lifestyle choices are the best immune system boosters. A healthy lifestyle is a natural immune booster that can protect you from common immune suppressors from germs to stress. But the stress that wreaks havoc on our bodies can also prevent us from making the healthful choices that serve as great immune system boosters.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), America is an “overstressed nation.” The APA’s report, “Stress in America Finding,” says most Americans experience moderate stress in their daily lives. Another 24 percent report feeling a great deal of stress.1
Without a stress management plan that acts as a natural immune booster, this stress negatively impacts our health. According to The American Institute of Stress (AIS), stress is an archaic response our bodies experience to survive saber-tooth tigers, not take on our bosses.2
When you feel stress, your brain receives an increased supply of blood so you can make life-saving decisions quickly. You get more fuel thanks to increased blood sugar. Your arms and legs get a boost of strength as your body diverts blood from your digestive system to your legs and arms. The AIS goes on to say that, without the benefits of a natural immune booster, prolonged stress impacts the sympathetic nervous system and results in increased levels of stress-related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.2
Although we are well past the Ice-Age, we still experience mammoth-hunting levels of this physical response. This results in heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and a weakened immune system.
Researchers illustrated our need for a natural immune booster that counteracts the impact that stress has on the immune system when they performed a study on medical students. Researchers found that the students’ natural killer cell activity (an important marker in immune function) declined during exam time.3
While a good run across the savannah and a lulling campfire were enough for our ancestors, we need a more comprehensive solution to our stress. Your stress management plan should include a natural immune booster plan that includes numerous immune system boosters such as quick stress relief techniques, a time-management plan, and an exercise plan.
Quick stress relief techniques are immune system boosters that can halt the cascade of hormonal and other physical reactions to stress. WebMD suggests deep breathing because it triggers a relaxation response in the brain. To trigger this response, let your stomach rise as you breathe air deeply into your lungs several times.4
The APA found lack of time to be the primary reason people don’t follow a stress management plan.1 Yet, the Mayo Clinic says that “effective time management is an effective means to a less stressful life,” making it a natural immune booster. The Mayo Clinic suggests stress-busting immune system boosters such as planning your day, keeping a time diary and learning to say no to tasks that don’t align with your goals.5
People who consider themselves even slightly unhealthy are more likely to feel stress and its physical symptoms than people who live healthy lifestyles, according to the APA’s report.1 Research suggests that exercise is a natural immune booster that enhances the brain’s chemicals, especially norepinephrine, a chemical that helps you deal with stress effectively. Also, when you exercise, your central and sympathetic nervous systems and your cardiovascular system “practice” working together, making your body more efficient when dealing with actual stress.6
Immune system boosters that combat stress can protect you from degenerative diseases and airborne infections. According to the APA, most of us already value the importance of stress management and healthy living.1 Yet these techniques take time before they become habits. While you are implementing these strategies for immune system support, consider taking supplements for boosting immune system function.
1 Anderson, N., Nordal, K., et al. (November 2010) American Psychological Association. Stress in America Findings.
2 American Institute of Stress (AIS). America’s No. 1 Health Problem. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from
3 Kiecolt-Glaser JK (Jan-Feb 1984). Psychosocial modifiers of immunocompetence in medical students. Retrieved January 13, 2012 from
4. Romito, K., Weinstock, L. (May 2010) WebMD. Stress Management Health Center. Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from
5 Mayo Clinic. Time Management: Tips to reduce stress and improve productivity. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from
6 American Psychological Association. Exercise fuels the brain’s stress buffers. Retrieved January 17, 2012 from