Your immune system is your body’s defense system, protecting you from infection and disease. When it’s not functioning properly, the risk of illness increases. Your body will give you signs that it needs help. It is important to stay alert for these symptoms, which can indicate the immune system may be compromised so that you can get to your doctor.
A cold is a respiratory illness caused by a virus, and according to the CDC, it is common for healthy adults to catch a cold a few times each year. Some people develop colds or chronic cough more frequently, which may indicate an underlying condition or weakened immune system.
If an immune-mediated condition is an underlying cause, ignoring it and not seeking treatment can result in unwanted inflammatory attacks on healthy tissues in the body. In addition, ignoring frequent colds can leave you more vulnerable to external threats because each cold wears down the body’s natural defenses.
A delay in healing can be the first sign of serious health conditions that require immediate medical attention. We typically don’t pay attention to healing but, when we get a burn or cut, our wounds should heal easily. Healing time becomes more noticeable when there is a deep tissue injury or if the wound covers a big area.
Immediately after you've sustained an injury, the area may be swollen, sore, and red. This is normal as blood arrives in the area, bringing oxygen, nutrients, and immune cells. However, redness that is spreading beyond the boundaries of the wound may be a sign of infection, which may indicate a compromised immune system.
A large part of your immunity is directly linked to digestive health because almost 70% of the immunity-boosting tissues in our body are located in our gut, which is empowered by millions of beneficial bacteria. If you regularly suffer from stomach issues such as diarrhea, bloating, and constipation, these could be warning signs of a weakened immune system.
On the other hand, chronic digestive issues can interfere with the health of the gut microbiome, which can weaken immune defenses. Underlying issues could be much more serious if your gut problems last for weeks at a time, so it is important to speak with your doctor to identify the cause and start an effective treatment.
Fatigue is not the same as sleepiness. In fact, sleepiness is a symptom of fatigue. Fatigue can be associated with a number of conditions, including the common cold, poor sleep, or lack of exercise, but it is also common for several physical and mental health conditions.
When fatigue does not resolve with rest and nutrition and begins to interfere with your daily life, you should speak with your doctor. If your fatigue is associated with an underlying health condition, ignoring this symptom could result in chronic health issues.
When your immune system is not operating at optimal levels, your body is more vulnerable to environmental threats and infections, and you'll have a harder time getting rid of them. Threats like sinus, ear, urinary tract, and fungal infections will attack your body when your immune system is weakened and unable to effectively produce enough antibodies to protect you.
When these infections become frequent, the immune system could be overwhelmed, and at some point, they can cause more serious problems. To avoid serious health problems, you should not ignore infections that keep coming back time and time again.
Immune conditions can range from very common to very rare and can affect various organ systems. Proper immune function is essential for overall health, so paying attention to these symptoms is important. Certain conditions can cause chronic health issues if left untreated. The sooner the cause of poor immune health is identified, the better the chances are of successful treatment.
In addition to bringing these symptoms to your doctor’s attention, one of the most important parts of proactive healthcare is promoting immune health. One of the best ways to do this is by ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs to promote healthy immune and respiratory tract health. Some of the best nutrients to do this include:
♦ African geranium, used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat common colds, helps support immune system function and respiratory health while promoting the body’s natural healing rate.
♦ Chromium, which supports immune cell activity to protect the body against environmental threats.
♦ Elderberries, one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world, provide antioxidant support to support immune cell activity and promote the body’s defenses.
♦ L-cysteine, an amino acid, works with other antioxidants to promote immune cell function and promote glutathione production, an antioxidant enzyme in the body that helps clean and fix common damage to tissues, to support proper lung function health.
♦ L-lysine, an amino acid, helps reduce everyday stress and anxiety related to occasional outbreaks and helps you avoid the unsightly and uncomfortable common immune-related problems of skin and tissues in and around the mouth.
♦ Marshmallow root, used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, is a natural mucilage that allows it to form protective coatings around membranes while supporting healthy mucous membrane activity and the respiratory’s normal moisture levels.
♦ Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, promotes immune cell activity and strengthens epithelial tissue, serving as the first defense line.
♦ Vitamin D3, an essential vitamin, encourages specific molecules that promote healthy lung tissue.
♦ Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant, supports T-cell activity to effectively identify and remove pathogens from the body.
Additionally, probiotics, nourished by prebiotics are important in promoting gut microbiome health, which is the center of immune system strength.
It is important to identify immune conditions early to help reduce the risk of serious disease. Your body will give you signs of distress, so you need to make sure you are paying attention. Keep an eye out for these signs and fuel your body with essential immune-boosting nutrients to promote optimal immune system health and strong defenses.
Dr. Brian Greenberg
Dr. Brian Greenberg is an immunologist, allergist, and pediatrician who received his medical degree from the University of Florida, and completed his residency and fellowship at UCLA. He has practiced medicine in Southern California for almost 25 years.