So when we think about winter coming upon us we often think lemon and honey, vitamin c and a good diet to keep on top of the colds and flu season. But what if there was another part that could be hugely impacting your immune system? In clinic as a Naturopath I see many women feeling their immune system is struggling. And often it isn’t just because it’s colder weather. Have a read about the following factors that may be impacting on your immune health.
Cortisol- did you know when cortisol is too high or low it can cause your immune system to weaken? This can promote infection, allergies, recurrent infections or poor recovery. Stress actually reduces the amount of immune fighting factors in our system so viruses and bacteria can thrive easier. We all know when we have over done it and then we get sick right? This is exactly what is happening. Often we need to look at what is causing this cortisol to be so unstable. Is it blood sugar issues, ongoing stress, chemicals you are being exposed to or poor adrenal function? Taking on meditation, deep breathing, yoga and self care are key to preventing good cortisol balance.
Oestrogen- excess oestrogen can inhibit the production of interleukin 2, which is meant to be there to stimulate the immune response. High oestrogen also suppresses the size of the thymus gland which depresses immune activity by causing a reduction in thymus hormone levels in the blood. This can cause us to be struggling with our immune system. Same goes for post- menopausal women with lower levels of oestrogen. Because estrogen helps create NK cells, B lymphoctyes and T helper cells we have a weaker more susceptible system. Therefore your oestrogen levels are doing a lot more than balancing your cycle. Often this can also be related to flare ups of thrush when the immune system is being triggered by changes in oestrogen throughout the month
Testosterone- when testosterone is low, which often happens after long term stress, the immune system can overproduce white blood cells. These higher levels of white blood cells are often seen in autoimmune disease. Auto-immune disease can present as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and so much more.
Poor mineral intake- as we know the immune system needs nutrients to function adequately. Nutrients you may want to focus on are vitamin C, olive leaf extract, echinacea, astragalus, vitamin D, zinc and trace minerals. These nutrients support immune function under times of stress and imbalance.
If you know your hormones are imbalanced or you have been under stress recently why not think about building up your immune system now? This will help to prevent winter illness in the coming months.
A good place to start is taking 2gms of Vitamin C daily, and taking a echinacea or olive leaf daily to increase your immune function. So snuggle up, make a tea (with lemon and ginger of course!) and look after your stress levels this winter. Your immune system will thank you for it!
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