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Immune Health and Vitality for All Stages of Life

Wellness Resources

Does getting older mean you are more prone to immune challenges? It depends. Immune health evolves and matures throughout your life. Recent research has delved deeper into age-related immune decline and “immune competence” and has found that there is more to it than just your age. Immune system resiliency and vitality require several nutrients which greatly affects your immune competence to manage challenges at every age.

Whether you are young, middle age, or a senior citizen, your immune resilience requires micronutrients or vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients as well as a healthy lifestyle. Your nutrient status affects vast activities and components related to immune system vitality. Optimal nutrient reserves are required for mucosal membranes, white blood cells, cytokine production, antibody production, natural killer cells, T-cells, B-cells, immune generated inflammation, and every aspect of germ management.

Things that Impair Immune Health

Immune system function and competence is greatly impacted by your diet, environment, and lifestyle choices. Things that burden your immune system and increase the risk of chronic inflammation and poor immune tolerance includes:

• sedentary lifestyle

• hectic lifestyle with inadequate rest

• chronic exhaustive exercise routines

• obesity

• chronic, unrelenting stress of any type

• processed, packaged food/fast food (calorie rich/nutrient poor foods)

• tobacco use

• alcohol use

• eating disorders

• restrictive diets

• sleep deprivation

• medications like antibiotics and acid blocking meds that change gut health

• gut dysbiosis

• others

Age and Immune Competence

Why is it that you can have two people of the same age, similar backgrounds, perhaps even in the same household, and have one that is healthy and the other has failing health? You likely know someone who is still spry, active, and resilient in their 80’s or older, yet others in their 50’s can’t keep up with that pace and are frequently ill. Many reasons exist for this wide variation of health, but as research has progressed, it demonstrates just how important nutritional reserves are for immune competence and vitality to manage the effects of the above lifestyle habits.

A recent review study proposed that immune markers related with aging and a decline of immune vitality is not fully due to your age. Changes in immune vitality seen with age are rather related to “prolonged exposure to antigen stimulation and to oxidative stress involving the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).”

In other words, excess free radical stress from the concerns listed above challenges your immune system functions, cell membranes and infrastructure, signaling mechanisms and the overall effectiveness or “competence” of your immune system. Unhealthy lifestyle choices and chronic stress combined with the cumulative effect of age lead to chronic low-grade inflammation or “inflammaging” and diminished immune competence.

Common Nutrient Deficits