The immune system has had quite a bit of press lately due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We know that those who suffer the most severe cases of COVID-19 often have weakened immune systems and comorbid conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a patient with an underlying medical condition is 6 times more likely to be hospitalized and 12 times more likely to die compared to those that do not have these comorbidities (3). Never in the history of our generation has the immune system been more important!!!
How does the immune system work?
The immune system has a very important role. It is made up of various cells, proteins and organs that protect you from harmful germs, substances and cell changes (2). It is made up of 2 parts: The innate immune system and the adaptive immune system (4). You are born with your innate immune system. Your innate immune system attacks general threats and is quick to respond. The second part of your immune system is called the adaptive immune system. You acquire your adaptive immune system when your body is exposed to pathogens. Once you have been exposed to a pathogen, your body “remembers” it next times you encounter it or one that is similar and your adaptive immune system triggers an immune response to fight off the pathogen. Your adaptive immune system is slower to respond.
How you can strengthen your immune system?
We know there are many things that we can do to support our immune system. Most of these things are under our direct control including getting good sleep, eating well, washing our hands, exercising, managing stress, getting sunshine and taking good vitamins including vitamin C and Vitamin D3.
Can chiropractic care help my immune system?
Everything in your body is under direct control of the nervous system. A spinal misalignment, called a subluxation, interferes with proper functioning of your nervous system. If your nervous system is not functioning properly, it weakens your immune system. On the other hand, a properly functioning nervous system supports your immunity.
In addition, when you have a spinal misalignment, this creates a stress response in your body which makes you produce more cortisol, the “stress hormone”. Not to mention the cortisol we are producing as a result of the constant emotional stress we are currently under with the current COVID-19 crisis, unemployment, social isolation, relationship stress, homeschooling children and a lack of resources. Increased production of cortisol will down-regulate your immune system. Getting adjusted regularly has been shown to improve nerve function which decreases your stress response thereby supporting your immune system.
To be clear, chiropractic care cannot cure or prevent COVID-19 infection, but at this time, there are NO cures, conventional or alternative, for COVID-19 (1). Having a strong immune system is your best defense. Investing time, money and effort into prevention and healthy lifestyle choices, including chiropractic, can pay off BIG in the long run!