“You don’t want your immune system to be stronger, you want it to be balanced. Too much of an immune response is just as bad as too little response.”Suzanne L. Cassel, MD

To succeed, a false slogan must contain an element of truth. In the slogan ‘Boost Immunity, Beat Omicron,’ better the immunity better the chance of beating Omicron is the truth. That immunity can be boosted, is the lie. Because no scientific evidence yet that immunity can be boosted.

Why Immunity cannot be boosted 

Immunity is not a single entity. It is an intricate system of many types of cells that respond to diverse types of microbes in diverse ways. These cells must act in harmony for a correct immune response. How many of each type of cell, or what mix of cells, produces optimum immune response is not known.

In fact, much about immune response is unknown. Why some people have a more balanced immune response than others is not known. No scientific proof that lifestyle or food or drinks can enhance immunity. Effects of age, diet, exercise, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response are still being researched.

What can be surmised from the available limited information about the working of the immune system is that certain factors weaken it, and certain factors improve it. 

Factors that weaken Immune response

Age

Immune response reduces with age. This may be because thymus atrophies with age and produces fewer T cells to fight the infection. Or maybe because bone marrow becomes less efficient and produces fewer stem cells of the immune system.

The elderly is therefore more likely to fall to infections and cancers, and more likely to die from them, as compared to the young. Respiratory infections, influenza, the COVID-19 virus and pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. Also, vaccines are less effective in persons over sixty-five than in children.

Stress

Mind and body are intricately linked. Chronic emotional stress is linked to a variety of maladies such as stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease. Chronic stress may reduce immune responses, and, or may aid autoimmune diseases.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficient persons may be more prone to infections. A study showed that enough vitamin D might reduce the risk of Covid infection by 54%. Also, vitamin D-sufficient persons have a significantly lower risk for serious complications from COVID-19.

Vitamin D is often called “the sunshine vitamin” because natural light is one of its best sources. UV lamp, fatty fish and seafood, liver, mushrooms, egg yolks, Vitamin D-fortified foods, and Vitamin D supplement are its other sources. The pandemic may keep people indoors and thus reduce their exposure to natural light and cause Vitamin D insufficiency. Even otherwise many persons suffer from Vitamin D insufficiency.

Micronutrient deficiencies

Lab tests show that micronutrient deficiencies –  for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E – alter immune responses in animals. Whether this happens in humans is not known.

Elderly eat less and have less variety in their diet and are therefore more prone to micronutrient malnutrition. Multivitamin and mineral supplements may help the elderly to maintain better immune response. 

Factors that Improve Immune response 

Health is the only precursor of immune response. Better the health better the response. Factors which improve health, also improve immune response.

For better health and thus better immune response:

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One comment on "Boost Immunity, Beat Omicron"

  • Arif Khan

    Great article , must read for all.

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