Common Signs of a Weak Immune System

Common Signs of a Weak Immune System

Your immune system strives to perform like a perfectly choreographed dance to protect your body from foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and fungi. When you have weak immunity, your body isn’t able to keep up with the healing demand, leaving you feeling unwell and tired.

It’s important to be able to spot the common signs and symptoms of a weak immune system, so you’re able to recognize them and get a jump start on healing.

You’re always tired

You make an effort to sleep 7-8 hours a night, but you never feel fully rested. You’ve tried everything and nothing seems to help. If this sounds like you, then you may have a weak immune system.

Every day our bodies have a tough job to do and if you have a weak immune system then it can’t work efficiently. If extra energy is going toward fighting illness or infections, your energy stores are depleted, leaving you feeling tired no matter how much rest you get.

You catch colds a lot or struggle to get rid of them

According to the CDC, the average adult suffers from 2-3 colds per year. Most people will be fully recovered within 7-10 days. If you find yourself sick 4 or more times a year or your cold drags on for weeks on end, you might have a weak immune system.

When you get a cold your body creates white blood cells that start fighting common viruses, like rhinovirus, within 3-4 days after becoming infected. If you have weakened immunity, your body will struggle to produce enough white blood cells to do their job effectively.

You have gut issues

Do you have a medicine cabinet full of digestive medicines that rivals your local pharmacy? Are you plagued by gut issues like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, stomachaches, nausea that just won’t quit? You might have weakened immunity.

A healthy gut microbiome consists of both good bacteria and immune cells that fight off all the nasty things that can make you sick. According to an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, a huge portion of your immune system lies in your gut. When it’s lacking, it can’t do its job well, which results in digestive issues.

You’re always stressed out

According to an article from the Psychological Bulletin, over 300 empirical articles describe a direct correlation between chronic stress levels and weakened immunity. Ever wondered why you get sick after any kind of mental distress?

Stress signals your body to release a hormone called cortisol, which creates inflammation. Stress also decreases your body’s efficiency of creating lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells that fight infection and inflammation. If you’re chronically stressed, then your immune system struggles to make enough white blood cells to fight the chronic inflammation, thus resulting in a weakened immune system.

You get frequent infections

Are you making a few too many trips to the doctor for infections each year? According to the AAAI, frequent infections are a good sign your immune system is weak, especially if you’re an adult being prescribed antibiotics more than twice a year. If you’re getting frequent infections it often means your immune system is struggling to do its job.

Your wounds heal slowly

Just like when your body fights a virus or infection, when you have a wound, your immune system goes to work to heal it. If you have a weak immune system your body won’t be able to orchestrate the healing process efficiently, which means your wounds will heal a lot slower than they should be leaving you open to further infection.

Here’s how you can boost your immune system

Recognize some of the above symptoms in yourself? You’re definitely not alone.

Luckily there are many natural ways you can boost your immune system to give your body it’s best chance to fight off unwanted foreign invaders.

  • Eat immune boosting foods like fresh raw ginger, turmeric, and garlic, fruits like oranges, guavas, papayas, cantaloupes, and grapefruit, green tea, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and almonds, sunflower seeds, and avocados.
  • Take a vitamin D3 supplement. It’s tough to get enough vitamin D to boost your immune system through diet and sunlight alone due to a few factors. The amount of food you’d have to eat to get enough vitamin wouldn't be realistic to keep up on a daily basis. If you live below 35 degrees latitude, you can get enough vitamin D from the sun year round. If you live above it there are a few months in the winter where it’s not possible, so supplements are necessary. Make sure to wear UVA and UVB protection when you’re soaking up your rays in order to prevent skin damage and cancer.
  • Sleep 7-8 hours per night. Your body releases proteins called cytokines while you sleep, which is needed to help your body fight off infection and inflammation.
  • If you drink alcohol, make sure it’s in moderation. This means no more than 7 drinks per week for women and no more than 14 drinks per week for men and no more than 3 drinks in a day for women and no more than 4 in a day for men, according to the NIAAA.
  • Minimize stress using healthy coping mechanisms like yoga, meditation, tai chi, journaling, or practicing mindfulness.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices like eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and exercising regularly.