How to boost the immunity of an adult – 10 tips with scientific justification

Immunity is the body's ability to resist the effects of any foreign agents (viruses, bacteria, etc.) by capturing them and then destroying them.

The functioning of the human immune system is influenced by many factors.

The most important factors are: lifestyle, diet, addiction to habitual intoxications (smoking, alcohol and drug use), compliance with personal hygiene rules, etc.

Below are 10 scientifically proven recommendations that will help boost immunity and provide reliable protection of the body from infectious and inflammatory, allergic and autoimmune diseases. The described tips do not require a visit to an immunologist, taking pills and almost all of them are available at home.

1. Sleep more

A healthy adult body needs about 7-9 hours of sleep every day, and children need about 10-13 hours.

Systematic lack of sleep (for 2 weeks or more) leads to a decrease in the effectiveness of the immune system by at least 30%. It is due to this circumstance that people recover quickly after a full sleep.

One of the scientific studies proved that partial deprivation of sleep at night leads to a decrease in the immune response, a decrease in the number of natural killers and the production of interleukin-2. At the same time, the effects are irreversible even when taking immunostimulants.

With a sleep duration of less than 7 hours observed reduction of the human body's resistance to colds (viral) and bacterial diseases. The frequency of occurrence of such pathologies increases by 3 times.

Healthy sleep ensures adequate functioning of all cells of the immune system and increases the body's resistance to infections.

2. Exercise regularly

Scientists from the UK have proved that the "aging" of the immune system directly depends on the degree and volume of physical activity. With active classes (150-300 minutes per week) and a proper heart rate (65-80% of the peak) the rate of &171; extinction of&187; immunity is minimal. It was also determined that the number of T-link cells directly depends on a person's fitness.

With the help of physical exercises, you can get rid of toxic metabolic products circulating in the blood, which has a beneficial effect on the immune system, provides prevention of oncological, autoimmune and allergic disorders.

It should also be noted that physical activity improves the condition of the heart and the cardiovascular system as a whole, reduces the frequency of chronic pathologies, and improves the trophism of all organs and tissues.

People under the age of 17 need to exercise for at least 60 minutes 3-5 times a week, representatives of the older generation – at least 2.5 hours 1-2 times a week. For the elderly (over 65 years old), low-intensity aerobic exercise (walking at a brisk pace) is preferable.

Regular physical activity reduces the intensity of age-related immunity decline and contributes to the prevention of infectious and inflammatory abnormalities.

3. Do not abuse alcohol

According to the review of scientific literature, excessive intake of ethanol significantly increases the risk of developing infectious and inflammatory diseases (especially from the respiratory system), disrupts the adequate functioning of protective barriers (skin and mucous membranes) and destroys cells of the immune system.

The processes of lymphocyte synthesis are also slowed down due to the development of protein deficiency.

Ethanol reduces the intensity of formation of immunoglobulins of classes G and M. Alcohol also prevents adequate differentiation of T- and B-link cells.

Alcoholic beverages are not always harmful to the body. Safe, according to Harvard Medical School , a dose equal to 15 ml of pure ethanol per day is considered for women, 30 ml for men.

It is recommended to limit alcohol consumption as much as possible, since alcohol has been proven to disrupt the normal functioning of the immune system.

4. Give up smoking

Proven that tobacco smoke harms all organs and tissues of the human body, increases the incidence of cardiovascular complications, and also violates the immune system.

Nicotine, which enters the body when smoking, binds to hemoglobin, which leads to a violation of the oxygen supply of cells.

Also, in tobacco smoke  contains a huge number of carcinogens and toxic resins that directly suppress the immune response, provoke the development of allergic processes and autoimmune diseases.

Smoking is the easiest way to "kill" not only the immune system, but also the body as a whole.

5. Adjust your diet

In the last article we already told on the importance of diet for the immune system .

There is a sufficient number foods beneficial to the immune system , which have a positive effect on the local and general protective mechanisms of the body.

Below we will briefly describe the list of the most useful substances:

  1. Low-fat protein foods. Proteins are necessary for building cells of the immune system. With a protein deficiency, a uniform insufficiency of all components develops. The optimal sources of protein are chicken and turkey breasts, seafood, eggs (proteins), legumes (beans). The norm proteins per day – about 1.6 g/ kg of weight.
  2. Beta-carotene. Helps to accelerate the production of lymphocytes, reduces the risk of developing cancer. It is found in such products: potatoes, carrots, melon, apricots, spinach.
  3. Selenium and zinc.  They increase the production of natural killer cells and T-link cells and have a positive effect on red bone marrow . Selenium and zinc are found in large amounts in seafood (crabs, tuna, lobsters), as well as in legumes, beef. The described products are recommended for constant use  by the US National Institutes of Health . It is noteworthy that when zinc and selenium are combined, their effects are mutually enhanced.
  4. Fresh fruits and vegetables. Lots of scientific experiments was able to prove the immunomodulatory and direct antibacterial properties of vegetables and fruits. Zucchini, turnips, green apples, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons), bananas, peaches, plums, grapes and black currants are preferred.
  5. Garlic. The vegetable contains allicin, which destroys many harmful microorganisms in the lumen of the intestine , as well as in the circulating blood. Garlic also improves immunity (by activating the synthesis of white blood germ cells), prevents the development of oncological diseases, slows down aging.  The effects are scientifically proven .
Proper nutrition plays one of the main roles in maintaining immunity. The diet should be balanced and varied.

6. Take vitamins

Vitamins regulate all metabolic processes in the body, and are also involved in maintaining immunity.

It is recommended to use specialized food additives (Alphabet, Supradine, etc.) or to obtain useful biologically active substances from food.

The following vitamins are especially important:

  1. Vitamin C. Increases the production of white and red blood germ cells at the level of red bone marrow. This component should be added to food regularly, since the body is unable to accumulate and synthesize it. The maximum amount of vitamin C is found in citrus fruits (lemons, oranges), strawberries, rosehip, spinach and cabbage. Proven that vitamin C reduces the severity of clinical symptoms in the course of acute respiratory viral infections.
  2. Vitamin D. is especially effective against productive psychoemotional disorders and depression , which quickly disrupt the work of circadian rhythms (for example, sleep) and disrupt the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin D: trout, cod, sturgeon, eggs.
  3. Vitamin A. Has pronounced antioxidant properties. Accelerates the healing of any wounds, and also provides prevention of their microbial contamination. Some scientific works demonstrate that vitamin A slows down the destruction of antibodies during the course of infectious and inflammatory abnormalities. Vitamin A is found in carrots, broccoli, red peppers, pumpkin, melon, potatoes, and apples.
Regular intake of vitamins is necessary to maintain immunity and prevent viral diseases (especially SARS and influenza).

7. Eat foods with probiotics

Probiotics are food products that contain live beneficial microorganisms.

Probiotics create conditions for the adequate functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and enhance the immunity of the entire body, with the effect occurring at all stages of the functioning of the immune system.

With the systematic inclusion of probiotics in the diet, significantly is declining the incidence of infectious diseases, and they occur mainly in mild form.

Extremely rich in probiotics yoghurts, kefir and other fermented milk products. However, not all fermented milk products contain live bifidobacteria, it is important to take this into account. As an example, the yogurt brand "Activia" can be cited. Proven that a number of microorganisms in this yogurt retain vital activity even in the rectum (passes through the entire digestive tube).

In addition dairy products , rich in probiotics sauerkraut , pickled cucumbers, drinks based on of kombucha .

An alternative option for using probiotics is to take special medications containing bacterial cultures (for example, Linex, Acipol, Hilak, etc.). They are indicated for the treatment of intestinal dysbiosis resulting from a violation of the diet or after prolonged use of antibiotics.

Probiotics are necessary to maintain adequate functioning of the digestive tract, strengthen immunity and reduce the frequency of infectious pathologies.

8. You are in sunlight more often

Proven that sunlight contributes to Mood boost , prevention of stress and depressive disorders that inhibit the immune response.

In addition, under the influence of sunlight, the human body produces vitamin D. One study confirmed that increased vitamin D synthesis improves the body's resistance to type A influenza, especially in children.

Insolation lasting about 15 minutes in summer and 1-2 hours in winter is enough to achieve the effect.

Sunlight provides prevention of immunodeficiency by improving the emotional background and vitamin D production.

9. Drink immunomodulatory formulations

The following plants have been proven to have immunomodulatory properties:

  1. Eleutherococcus. It not only activates the central departments nervous system , but also increases the work of barrier tissues several times.
  2. Ginseng. Lots of research has demonstrated that ginseng is able to enhance general immunity, as well as improve the condition in the course of viral infections, accelerate the ability of macrophages and natural killers to phagocytosis.
  3. Astragalus. The plant activates the maturation and subsequent differentiation of cells of the immune system, reduces the incidence of infectious pathologies.
  4. Echinacea. It is effective for eliminating the symptoms of respiratory infections, general immunity enhancement.

Most immunogenic fees can be purchased in pharmacies in the form of dry plant raw materials or ready-made dosage forms (tinctures).

The use of herbal fees can have a positive effect on the body's resistance to pathogens of infectious diseases.

10. Follow the rules of hygiene

Basic hygiene rules help prevent the development of infectious and inflammatory diseases, the course of which is not only harmful to the whole body, but also negatively affects the immune system.

The following recommendations must be followed:

  1. Regular hand washing after coming from the street, handshakes, toilet, before and after cooking. After contact with animals and cleaning, the skin should be additionally treated with antiseptic solutions. Clinical studies have proven the effectiveness of this method .
  2. Brushing your teeth 2 or more times a day. With prolonged presence of microbes in the oral cavity, the formation of caries increases. Foci of chronic infection always have a negative effect on other body systems.
  3. Daily showering. There are constantly a huge number of microorganisms in the physiological folds and hair, which are responsible not only for the presence of an unpleasant odor, but also for the appearance of local infectious processes (in the skin and subcutaneous fat). Regional damage can always become systemic!
Compliance with personal hygiene rules is the basis for the correct functioning of local barriers, as well as the work of the immune system as a whole.

What to avoid

Factors that reduce immunity include:

  1. Poor environmental conditions. The content of heavy metal salts and other toxic compounds in the air causes chronic inflammation in the upper respiratory system and can lead to the formation of autoimmune and allergic (bronchial asthma) pathologies.
  2. Insufficient or excessive insolation. A short stay in sunlight leads to a suppression of the emotional background and a decrease in the production of vitamin D, which a person receives from food in negligible amounts. But with an excess of ultraviolet light, the destruction of cells of the immune system and the appearance of skin oncological pathologies is observed. The norm should be observed (15-30 minutes a day in summer and 1-2 hours in winter).
  3. Stress . Constant psychoemotional overloads, depressive states and other disorders of the central nervous system contribute to increased production of cortisol, a hormone that is a "killer" of cells of the immune system.
  4. Low sleep duration. During sleep, the duration of which is less than 7 hours, the incidence of infectious pathologies increases several times.
  5. The presence of bad habits. Smoking, alcohol, drugs. These factors affect almost all mechanisms of the immune system, leading to their suppression, and also have a direct cytotoxic effect.
  6. Excessive physical activity. Non-compliance with the activity regime is fraught with the development of overwork, the effect of which is comparable to the influence of a negative psycho-emotional background.
  7. Improper nutrition. A lack in the diet of the products described above in the article will inevitably lead to a lack of valuable amino acids, minerals and vitamins, which are important for the full synthesis and subsequent maturation of leukocytes and other cells.
  8. Sedentary lifestyle. Insignificant activity provokes the development of multiple trophic disorders, deposition of adipose tissue, and the appearance of a hyperglycemic background. Against the background of such transformations, the processes of the immune response change, the humoral component of the functioning of the immune system is suppressed.
The exclusion of the above factors is the key to the correct functioning of the immune system and high resistance to various infections.

How to understand that immunity is reduced

Suppression of the immune system can always be suspected in the early stages. Initially, the following symptoms may be registered:

  1. General weakness and malaise;
  2. Poor exercise tolerance;
  3. Chronic fatigue ;
  4. Lack of interest in the world around us;
  5. Sleep disturbance (daytime drowsiness and lack of sleep cravings at night);

Then, due to the suppression of the natural physiological mechanisms of the T- and B-link, the following symptoms are added:

  1. Frequent headaches;
  2. Feeling tired and aching in skeletal muscles;
  3. Periodic joint pain (at rest).

However, the above symptoms are non-specific and can occur with a wide range of other pathologies. If the immune system continues to decline further, then such deviations appear as:

  • Frequent infections in places where barrier tissues come into contact with the external environment. All chronic respiratory diseases worsen, SARS and influenza begin to occur more than 1-2 times a year. The skin becomes dry and brittle, and so-called pustular processes appear.
  • Changing the work of the sweat glands. Excessive sweating is recorded (even in the absence of stress and physical exertion).

Even with severe disorders of the immune system, opportunistic diseases appear – pathologies that almost never occur in healthy people. These include:

  • Cytomegalovirus infection;
  • Infection caused by Epstein-Barr virus;
  • Pneumocystis pneumonia;
  • Candidiasis of the skin and mucous membranes;
  • Sepsis of any etiology in the absence of a primary focus of infection;
  • Toxoplasmosis;
  • Cryptosporidiosis;
  • Shingles (with obligatory damage to the zone of innervation of the cranial nerves).

If at this stage the patient does not begin active immunomodulatory therapy, then in the following diseases a fatal outcome is possible, since even the appointment of adequate antibacterial or antiviral therapy will prove to be an ineffective treatment method.

The main conditions in which there is a marked decrease in immunity are:

  1. Alimentary starvation;
  2. Chemotherapy (used for the treatment of oncological pathologies);
  3. Genetic predisposition;
  4. Taking immunosuppressants (for organ transplantation);
  5. Long-term use of antibacterial agents;
  6. Pregnancy (in rare cases);
  7. The course of HIV infection (according to official data, about 1,300,000 people are carriers of the virus in the Russian Federation, according to unofficial data – up to 30,000,000).
If any signs of decreased immunity appear, it is recommended to consult a doctor urgently. With inadequate work of protective mechanisms, any disease can become the last in life!


Thus, compliance with the above recommendations contributes to the well-coordinated work of the immune system, as well as increasing the body's resistance to most bacterial, viral and fungal agents. In addition, at the first symptoms indicating a decrease in immunity, it is important to undergo a preventive examination by a specialist.