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Boosting your immune system

Since Covid-19, it has been shown once again that a good immune system is crucial. People are finally starting to pay more attention to their diet and exercise more. Due to the forced standstill there was suddenly room for reflection. Do I have to do that much and is that not at the expense of my body?

What is your immune system?

Simply put, the immune system is your immune system. Your immune system is largely innate. This is called innate immunity. It protects your body against diseases, infectious substances and altered own cells. It fights bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and other harmful micro-organisms so that you do not get sick. This happens thanks to a complex network of your cells and organs. Your skin and mucous membranes are the first lines of defense to keep infections out of your body. But if a virus, parasite or bacteria does enter your body, your immune system will have to fight back with white blood cells. To perform its protective, healing functions, your immune system must be strong. People with a weakened immune system are therefore more likely to develop a disease.In addition, these people generally need more time to recover from an illness or injury. Other symptoms may also occur in patients with reduced resistance. A weakened immune system is no longer able to fight disease agents sufficiently and efficiently. A weakened immune system may make a mistake and turn against its own body. This can cause autoimmune disease.

The immune system is, simply put, your defense system. Your immune system is largely innate.

The important role of intestinal flora for your immune system

To protect your body, your immune system has an estimated 50 million immune cells that destroy harmful viruses, fungi and bacteria.

The most important part of our immune system is in our gut! The place where the bacteria and viruses come into contact with each other the most and where it will be decided what is good for your body and what is not. Usually this works without any problems, but sometimes it doesn’t. Take Crohn’s disease, for example, where the immune system unnecessarily attacks harmless gut bacteria.

You can safely call the intestinal flora the engine of the immune system. In addition to influencing bowel movements and the associated digestion, the immune cells in your intestinal flora are constantly fighting bacteria and viruses. In addition, the skin, stomach acid, enzymes, mucous membranes and your saliva also contribute to this defense process for uninvited guests. The immune system is highly intelligent, it recognizes pathogens, trains itself to attack them and works closely with the intestinal flora. The intestinal flora continuously teaches the immune system what are or are not good bacteria and when a virus needs to be switched off.

Dendritic cell presents antigens to lymphocytes that activate an immune response.

Enlargement = Activation of the immune response.

Who are the key players in my immune system and what do they do?

Dendritic cells (IgE)

White blood cells with long antennae are the scouts. They detect foreign material and present it to the immune system.

B cells

These are the workers that are produced in different types by your body.

They are programmed to spot a toxin or a particular particle of a pathogen. If they find something, they start a process for antibodies that in turn renders the pathogen harmless. When the job is done, there are always a few of these B cells patrolling your body so that the immune system stays sharp and reacts super fast to a re-entry of the same pathogen.

T cells

In other words, lymphocytes, the specialists. Can react in a targeted manner to pathogens. They do this themselves or they give a signal that can activate part of the immune system.


You can think of these immune cells as the garbage collectors. They clean up the harmful bacteria, dead body cells, viruses and other dirt.

Symptoms of a low resistance

The following symptoms may indicate that your immune system is weakened:

Cold hands, repeated constipation or diarrhea, tiredness, low-grade fever, headache, rash, aching joints, hair loss, repeated infections, sun sensitivity, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, difficulty swallowing, weight fluctuations, white patches, yellow skin, yellow eyes or dry eyes.

Tips to boost your immune system

1. Cold shower 

Research has proven that it works. A good example is our Iceman Wim Hof. By working with cold resistance and breathing techniques, he has managed to strengthen his immune system. In people with autoimmune diseases, the immune system is overactive. Doctors try to reduce that reaction with drugs. Wim Hof ​​has shown that a healthy person can also lower an immune response without medication.

2. Move

It doesn’t matter how or what, as long as it is physically strenuous. If you exercise for at least 20 minutes at least three times a week, you already strengthen your immune system. The body tackles invading enemies more firmly and there is less room for chronic inflammation. It is not for nothing that people who exercise a lot are sick on average fewer days per year. Don’t forget to get enough rest, because that is just as important for your body as exercise.

3. Breathing

See a respiratory specialist for an explanation and analysis. It just seems like “breathing” and we do it automatically. But proper breathing in situations such as sports, rest or stress can do so much good for your body. Yoga (especially pranayama) or meditation are also good examples of practice to control breathing. Did you know that you breathe at least twenty-five thousand times a day?

ademhaling stress
Example breath analysis in stress

Red = Breathing pattern.

Yellow = Heart rate.

ademhaling rust
Example breath analysis after exercise

4. Become more positive

Looking at things from a cheerful side and not wasting your energy on negative energy is not only good for your mood and your environment, but also for your resistance. Suzanne Segerstrom, an American psychologist, already showed in a study that when people looked at the future with optimism, they also had a better immune response. Patients with positive expectations about a treatment can even actively put their immune system to work, says Leiden professor of health psychology Andrea Evers.

5. Work on your social contacts

Provide an environment with positive people and prevent loneliness. Even our genes get upset, biologist Steve Cole discovered. And that automatically also applies to genes that are partly responsible for the functioning of the immune system. Social contacts reduce stress and thus increase resistance.

6. Take a bath of sunlight

While sunbathing, something positive happens, research shows. The medical center of Georgetown University in America discovered how this is possible. It makes the T cells in the body move faster. The T cells, our specialists, work best when they can move quickly. They are then faster at the site of an infection to launch the attack. The blue light in the sun’s rays is said to be responsible for this. ­

Get your gut back on track!

If you’re patient, and have the right strain that can solve your problems, a probiotic can get you back on the right track. But probiotics are seen as a vacationer. She comes by and then leaves again while a poo transplant is another story. These are immigrants who build a house with a foundation. Poo contains a lot of bacteria. In the enteric-resistant capsules, they safely pass through the deadly acidity of the stomach and thus arrive at their destination unharmed. Colonizing and multiplying is fast!