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Can Chiropractic Care Boost the Immune System?

A strong immune system protects your body in multiple ways. Today, some people rely on chiropractic care to support the immune system.

One three-year study found that chiropractic patients had a 200% stronger immune system than people who had not received chiropractic care, and they had a 400% stronger immune system than people with cancer and other serious diseases.

A good immune system is always important, but it’s extra important during a pandemic.

Today, we’re highlighting the connection between chiropractic care and your immune system.

How Does the Immune System Work?

You could write a textbook on how the immune system works. We’ll provide a basic explanation.

Your immune system protects your body against invaders. The immune system detects when an intruder has entered your body, then cells to attack that intruder.

The immune system uses white blood cells, proteins, and other compounds to repel invaders from your body. Ideally, your immune system recognizes these invaders, attacks the invaders, then creates antibodies to protect your body from further infection.

Unfortunately, the immune system doesn’t always work as intended. Some conditions create a malfunctioning immune system, for example. Or, your immune system may not properly recognize an invader. Some immune systems overreact to invaders, while others underreact.

The immune system isn’t perfect. However, there are ways to boost the immune system.

Problems with the Immune System

Ideally, our immune system protects the body against invaders. However, there can be problems with the immune system, and these problems can create serious health concerns.

All of these things can impact the immune system:

  • Autoimmune disorders, which are diseases where the immune system starts to attack the body because it sees normal cells as foreign invaders that need to be destroyed
  • Cancer
  • Immunodeficiency disorders, which is a general term for any disease that weakens the immune system
  • Allergies or allergic responses, which can cause the immune system to overreact
  • Certain medications (including chemotherapy and other drugs used to treat cancer)
  • Certain infections (like the flu virus, mono, or measles)
  • Smoking, alcohol, and poor nutrition

Some people develop immune problems with age. Others are born with a weak immune system, which is called primary immune deficiency. Common immune disorders include severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which is present at birth. Some develop temporary acquired immune deficiencies – say, if the body is weakened by certain medications.

AIDS and HIV are two well-known conditions that impact the immune system. HIV, which causes AIDS, is a viral infection that destroys important white blood cells and weakens the immune system.

When you have an immune system problem, it means you could be affected by a disease that someone else can easily fight off. You could become seriously ill from a cold or flu virus, for example. These are called opportunistic infections because they take advantage of weak immune systems.

How to Strengthen your Immune System

Search Google for ‘boost immune system’ and you’ll find thousands of results. Boosting immunity is a trendy topic.

Boosting the immune system is more complicated than it seems, however. Your immune system isn’t a single entity or organ: it’s a collection of cells and systems throughout your body. You can support certain aspects of that system but not others.

Generally, any practice that supports good health will support your immune system.

According to Harvard, practices that support a good immune system include:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Take steps to avoid infection; wash your hands frequently and be extra cautious in shared public spaces
  • Reduce stress

By implementing these tips, you can support good immune efficiency, making it easier for your body to fight infections, diseases, and illnesses.

Some supplements claim to support immunity. Some supplements are rich with antioxidants or anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, which can make it easier for your immune system to fight infection. These supplements are often unproven, however. A balanced diet and moderate exercise can support immune system more effectively than a nutritional supplement.

How Chiropractic Treatment Could Support Immunity

There’s some evidence suggesting that chiropractic treatment can support a good immune system.

In 2020, researchers from the World Federation of Chiropractic published a study examining all available literature on chiropractic care and immunity. The study specifically mentioned the COVID-19 pandemic, examining how chiropractic care may help people deal with the coronavirus.

After analyzing available research, researchers concluded that there was some small evidence supporting the connection between the immune system and chiropractic care, although more largescale evidence was needed to confirm the connection between chiropractic care and immunity.

In this study published in 1991, for example, researchers in Illinois analyzed the effect of spinal manipulation on respiratory immune cells. Researchers gave a group of people two different treatments, including valid spinal manipulation therapy or a sham treatment. Researchers found there was higher immune cell activity in the spinal manipulation group and no change in the sham group:

“The CL responses of both PMN [polymorphonuclear neutrophils] and monocytes from subjects who received spinal manipulation were significantly higher after than before treatment, and significantly higher than the response in sham or soft-tissue treated subjects.”

In 2008, researchers analyzed immune production in subjects before and after receiving spinal manipulation therapy. Researchers found there were higher levels of IL-2 synthesis in patients who underwent spinal manipulation therapy. The study concluded that, “SMT [spinal manipulation therapy] might influence IL-2-regulated biological responses”.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that osteopathic manipulation may reduce symptoms in influenza patients. That study also explained the role of osteopaths during the 1918-1919 Spanish influenza pandemic, when osteopaths reduced mortality and morbidity using lymphatic treatment techniques.

These studies and others suggest that physical manipulation – including chiropractic treatment – could impact immunity. However, we need more largescale research on humans to verify a connection between chiropractic care and immunity.

Final Word On Boosting The Immune System

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to support your immune system. Research shows that a balanced diet, moderate exercise, and reduced stress can all support a healthy immune system, for example.

Some research shows that chiropractic care can support immunity. Chiropractic care could increase the activity of certain immune cells, although more research is needed to verify these benefits.

Renew Chiropractic is the leading chiropractor in Lakewood, Colorado.

With 20+ years of experience serving the Denver area, Renew Chiropractic has built a reputation for effective chiropractic results. Contact Renew Chiropractic today for a free consultation.

Tips for Supporting The Immune System

A strong immune system protects your body. With or without a pandemic, you need a good immune system to stay healthy.

You can find plenty of guides online that claim to strengthen your immune system. Certain nutritional supplements claim to support immunity, for example. Some people claim certain exercises can boost immunity.

We’re not going to tell you to drink detox tea to support immunity. Instead, we want to explain real, science-backed ways to support your immune system.

Keep reading to discover what the AARP, Harvard Health, and other experts say about supporting the immune system.

Stay Active with Moderate Exercise

It’s no secret that moderate exercise can support the immune system. According to the AARP, working out causes your body’s antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more rapidly. When these compounds circulate more rapidly, it increases their ability to target infections.

Being active also lowers stress hormones, which reduces your chances of getting sick.

One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who exercised at least five days a week were half as likely to develop a cold than those who were sedentary. Those who exercised regularly also experienced less severe symptoms. Researchers analyzed the lifestyle habits of 1,002 participants across the UK and found that people who exercised regularly were less likely to get sick or experience severe symptoms.

There are other benefits of exercise: some studies show that physically increasing the body’s temperature (which occurs with exercise) can increase your body’s ability to fight germs.

It’s important to exercise in moderation. Too much exercise can weaken the immune system. Experts recommend 30 to 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise most days of the week.

Eat a Balanced Diet

80 to 90% of your immune system is in your gut. Poor gut health is linked with poor immunity. Your gut fights infections, recognizes invaders, and protects your body against illness. People with poor gut health may experience indigestion, immune system issues, and other problems.

Studies show that a balanced diet can support good immune health. Eat your recommended daily amounts of fruits and vegetables, get lots of healthy fats, and eat whole foods instead of processed foods. Some experts recommend a Mediterranean diet for maximum immune health, although any balanced diet should have a positive impact on your immune system.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, certain foods can positively impact your immune system more than others, including:

Garlic: Garlic is rich with a compound called allicin. According to the Cleveland Clinic, eating one-half of a raw garlic clove per day can boost the immune system.

Prebiotics: Prebiotics feed your good gut bacteria (probiotic bacteria), keeping them healthy and active. If you’re already taking a probiotic, then consider eating more prebiotics. Asparagus, bananas, and artichokes are rich with prebiotics.

Vitamin C: Many people take vitamin C supplements to boost the immune system. Eating vitamin C-rich foods could support immunity. Kiwi, orange juice, broccoli, and cantaloupe are all rich with vitamin C.

Antioxidants: Many fruits and vegetables are rich with antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and neutralize oxidative stress throughout your body, strengthening your immune system.

Get More Vitamin D

Increasing research shows a connection between vitamin D and immunity. Studies have shown that people who get more vitamin D per day tend to have stronger immune systems than those who don’t get enough vitamin D.

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when exposed to sunlight. However, if you don’t spend much time outside, or if you live in a dark or wintry climate, then you may not be getting enough vitamin D.

Many people take vitamin D supplements. Health experts recommend that people who live in northern climates take vitamin D supplements, for example, to support immunity during winter.

You can find dozens of studies verifying the importance of diet on the immune system. This 2018 study, for example, found that a Mediterranean diet combined with vitamin D3 supplementation induced small but extensive changes within immune cells. Participants took 400 IU of a vitamin D supplement per day and increased the number of immune cells.

Reduce Stress

Stress can weaken the immune system. A stressed body is less effective at fighting disease – and research confirms that fact.

This study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, for example, exposed 300 healthy adults to the cold virus, then monitored them in quarantine for five days. Participants who were stressed had more inflammation than people who were not stressed.

Stress has a doubling effect on immunity: research shows that people who are stressed engage in other unhealthy habits. You might eat or drink more when stressed, for example, or struggle to get healthy sleep. All of these factors can weaken immunity further.

It’s no secret that reducing stress can improve your health. However, it’s not always easy to reduce stress.

This 2012 study found that adults 50 and older who exercised daily or performed a mindfulness routine were less likely to get a respiratory infection than subjects in a control group. When this group did get sick, they recovered more quickly than the control group.

Schedule Chiropractic Treatment

There’s some evidence that chiropractic treatment increases immune cell activity, helping your body fight disease and illness. Some small studies have shown that chiropractic care increases the activity of white blood cells and cytokines.

This 2013 study found that spinal manipulation therapy impacted the body’s production of interleukin-2, for example, a cytokine that plays a crucial role in the immune system.

However, chiropractic care can indirectly support your immune system in other ways. Chiropractic treatment could reduce stress, for example, which makes it easier for your immune system to function. Multiple studies show a connection between stress and reduced immune efficiency. One of the best ways to support an immune system is to lower your stress.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is crucial for health, and it’s also important for immune efficiency. Sleep helps your immune system rest and recuperate. When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces more stress hormones – like cortisol. When you have enough sleep, your body is in a more relaxed state.

Science has reinforced the idea that good sleep leads to a good immune system.

One study published in 2015 found that people who slept at least seven hours per night were four times less likely to get a cold than those who slept fewer than six hours per night.

A similar study found that people with eight hours of sleep per night had higher levels of T cells than those who slept fewer than eight hours.

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