You can't "boost" your immune system with "health food," nor would you want to


#1

[Read the post]


#2

Not only that but from what I have previously read some autoimmune diseases are your immune system being too active and attacking your body. So boosting your immune system to ‘overdrive’ would make it go hey I gotta do stuff oh that muscle tissue over there is close enough.


#3

I thought the reason for a fever wasn’t to keep infections away (as the temperature increase is nowhere near enough to make your body inhospitable), but rather to speed the reproduction of the infection. That, combined with the lack of incoming calories (nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite) starve off the infection and make it burn out faster.


#4

Of course not!

You can’t boost your immune system until you do a detox.

#duh!


#5

Can I make my immune system slightly less robust aside from aging?

Anytime someone so much as breathes in my direction, my body’s like “FIVE ALARM FIRE, SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN.” I mean, I got a chest cold from probably being in the same room as a sick person.


#6

Don’t you boost your immune system by getting sick?

Man, I’ve got to start selling “Active Cold Virus in a Pill: More than enough germs to get you sick and boost your immune system.”

I’ll bet I can get the only FDA-approved label that says my pills really boost your immune system.


#7

Evidence for this teleological evolutionary explanation?

Rest of the article is great, but I’m not sure you can say that we get tired in order to keep us home, any more than we get green snot in order to keep other people from kissing us.


#8

Know what actually boosted my immune system? (and by “boosted” I mean “returned to normal function”)

Getting my gross and permanently infected tonsils removed (at 34 years old). Because they were always infected, my immune system was always dealing with them… so when anything else came along, it was too much and I got sick. Since they’re gone, I get sick much, much less. It’s great.
What wasn’t great was actually having them removed- the old you get, apparently, the worse it is. I’ve done some terrible, terrible things to my body- for example, the last time I went to the ER was because I’d dislocated my shoulder, sternum, and broken three ribs, all at once. Having my tonsils out was way worse.
So, I guess you can boost your immune system (for some value of “boost”) but only if it’s pretty knackered in the first place.


#9

I’ve also read claims that the unusually high mortality rate among young, healthy adults during flu pandemics was due to their hyper-vigilant, overreactive immune systems. The authors of this 2009 review, however, present a pretty convincing case that this explanation is, at best, insufficient.

(ps: I miss your previous avatar.)


#10

Well, perhaps not at your dinner parties…


#11

In the case of zinc, there is significant evidence (more links here) to show it’s efficacy in both reducing the length and severity of a common cold (probably Rhinovirus) infection as well as the chance of infection (in lower doses) with virtually no side effects. Does this not count as boosting your immune system? The mechanism of effect is not well understood, but one hypothesis is enhancing the effect of interferon (the very definition of “boosting” the immune system).


#12

Airborne! Made by a teacher and guaranteed to give you an autoimmune disorder!!
Was that their slogan? I always forget (I probably should have watched more Baby Einstein).


#13

Both zinc and the amino acid l-lysine do this, and not just against the cold virus, against many viruses.

I was really saddened by how inaccurate the linked to article and the subsequent write up based on that was. What a crap misunderstanding of the immune system and a load of bunk. I think the sources being quoted by the original author do have some good points, but the authors comprehension of them is dismal and they misconstrue the message.

The immune system doesn’t have 2 modes, there are 4 lines of defense. The first response is the IgA in the gut, you don’t usually ever notice that response because it is working all the time to protect your body from the constant onslaught from outside and in. A healthy immune system is only noticed when something slips past or overpowers the initial response. The IgA response can vary widely and can indeed be strengthened or weakened. The secondary systems, like antibodies, don’t cause fevers unless fighting off a full attack. Once you have the antibodies you usually don’t get a fever at all. Otherwise vaccines wouldn’t work. What vaccines do is trigger the body to create antibodies so your body can fight off whatever the vaccine is for. You don’t get a fever or even notice when you are exposed to the things you are vaccinated against because the secondary systems are doing their job correctly, no fever, no symptoms. If antibodies took 5 days to work, vaccines would be useless, this is why the body remembers how to manufacture antibodies for things it has already faced, so it can start production immediatly, the 4-5 days is for creating antibodies to new not yet encountered attacks.

Basically 90% of this article was complete bullshit.

Complete BS. There are a number of substances that have been proven to improve different aspects of immune response and hundreds of pubmed articles on each one. Some of them have even had their active components isolated into pharmaceutical antivirals.

The article lists Stress as affecting the immune system while writing off all health supplements including adaptogens which counteract the impacts of stress on the immune system.

It is true that people with auto-immune diseases want to avoid immune boosting supplements, because they have an overactive immune system and those substances increase the self attacks as well. They wouldn’t have to do this if the supplements didn’t work. I know, i have auto-immune issues and my ex has MS.


#14
Here's what helps you avoid and fight illness: reducing stress (and hence cortisol levels), not getting older (younger people are better at fighting disease off), taking moderate exercise, eating a healthy diet, washing your hands frequently, keeping surfaces clean, and teaching the people around you not to sneeze on you.
It seems like you're saying those are the only things which can keep you from getting sick, and that healthy food and supplements play no role.

But as the article says:

As the name suggests [the immune system is] not a single thing but a system incorporating many organs and biological functions.”

This means that the health and condition of many different things has an impact on whether you get sick and how quickly you get better. Weird stuff like how healthy your skin is, or whether your digestive system is irritated can have an impact on immune response. Each of these things have their own causal relationships with food and nutrients.

So I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that we know these supplements don’t work because only this list of things actually influences the immune system. Lots of things may influence immune response, including food. Some foods and nutrients probably do have beneficial effects, but it’s hard to know which and when because the systems involved in immune response are really complicated and particular to the individual. But the marketers of the supplements don’t know if what they’re selling works either, so their advertising is dishonest.


#15

A family tiff seems to be developing. l don’t know if we should leave, but l definitely advise skipping the fish course.


#16

The immune system is basically the cellular-scale equivalent of your preferred overzealous and jackbooted security forces.

It’s just that they exist in a world where xenophobia, paranoia about internal threats, and a generally shoot-first-and-as-questions-later policy is actually a fairly good idea, so the collateral damage is usually worth it. Usually.


#17

My jackbooted security forces have turned on the innocent residents of bowel town :poop:


#18

My great grandfather died in the flu epidemic some 100 years ago. Broke his foot at work, went to hospital, caught the flu. Done.


#19

That is the author’s opinion, and not borne out by research on echinacea, garlic, and zinc.


#20

“Here’s what helps you avoid and fight illness:…not getting older…”

Those I knew who tried this approach didn’t show any great improvement.