10 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Immune System
Better Nutrition|October 2021
Never as a nation have we been more focused on immunity. But in spite of our best efforts, some all-too-common daily habits may be undermining our resistance to infection. Here are 10 sneaky immune saboteurs, and ways to change them.
By Lisa Turner

1 AN OVERZEALOUS SUPPLEMENT ROUTINE. Mega-dosing on supplements to fight infections? Ultra-high doses of certain vitamins and minerals can impair your immune system. Selenium and zinc are known for their critical roles in immunity, but lavish doses of either hamper the body’s immune response and diminish resistance. Excess vitamin A can shut down the body’s trained immunity, increasing susceptibility to otherwise- benign pathogens. And taking handfuls of “immune-boosting” herbs and supplements can exacerbate existing autoimmune disease or trigger autoimmune conditions in genetically predisposed people.

For balanced support, eat a nutrient-dense diet and use supplements in recommended—not heroic—doses. Some to consider for immune health include vitamins C and D, zinc, elderberry, medicinal mushrooms, Korean ginseng, and Xlear Nasal Spray. (Xlear is technically not a supplement, but it has been shown to help block viruses from adhering in the nose and to keep mucous membranes moist.)

2 ISOLATION. After 18 months of social distancing, isolating may have become a way of life. If so, it’s time to break that habit. Feeling lonely suppresses the body’s virus-fighting mechanisms, and ongoing isolation is linked with sadness, depression, and diminished immunity. You don’t have to become an overnight social butterfly. Small doses of human contact can boost resistance, and even hugging can lessen stress and improve immunity. And if you’re in a relationship, regular intimacy increases levels of pathogen-fighting compounds—weekly sex seems to have the greatest effect.

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