Our family’s health and well-being have been on everyone’s mind lately, and that includes our pets. Keeping the immune system running well and balanced is of the utmost importance. This system is extremely delicate, when it’s compromised it can open the door to a host of issues. When working properly It identifies potentially harmful pathogens and works to eliminate them before they can do harm.
The immune system also monitors cells to ensure they’re working properly. When cells are aging or functioning abnormally the immune system attempts to step in and maintain proper physiological function and balance. When the system is imbalanced for long period of time it can also lead to chronic inflammation. This is a potential gateway to maladies like Diabetes, some heart and liver issues, osteoarthritis, and even the C word.
Here are some simple and natural ways to help support the immune system and give it a boost.
Being physically fit is one of the best ways to promote health and well-being. Exercise can help reduce inflammation which can prevent some of the maladies mentioned above.
Body fat is an important endocrine organ and has a huge impact on health as well. This tissue influences the regulation of glucose, cholesterol and the metabolism of sex hormones. It also produces many hormones like leptin, aromatase, TNF alpha, adiponectin, angiotensin. These hormones are responsible for functions like, blood clotting, blood pressure, release of energy and improves the sensitivity to insulin.
Your diet is the first line of defense for your health. Your gut contains about 70% of your immune system. The gut has a collection of hundreds of species of bacteria called the microbiome. Diet plays a vital role in maintaining a balanced microbiome.
Commercial dry pet foods are comprised of at least 40 percent starch. The negative on starches is that they promote inflammation. A meat-based diet that includes vegetables and legume starches, like sweet potatoes and lentils is not as inflammatory and acidifying as starchy grains. This holds true for people as well.
We switched our dogs over to a homemade organic diet a couple of years and have seen drastic improvements in weight management and overall health and well-being. We will touch more on this in an upcoming article.
Stress can be a motivator in the short term but over prolonged periods of times it can damage your immune system. Mitigating or eliminating these stressors is vital to protecting and promoting immune response. It’s also a nice buffer in helping to slow down the aging process.
Stress increases your cortisol levels which over time can negatively impact your immune system. In the sort term cortisol can actually boost your immune response by limiting inflammation. Over time as your body gets used to having cortisol in the blood stream it actually increases inflammation.
Stress can also limit your lymphocyte level which leaves you at a higher risk to viruses. This reduces the white blood cells that help fight infections.
When stress levels are high it could lead to depression and anxiety which contribute to increased levels in inflammation. Prolonged exposure to these high levels of inflammation takes a massive toll your the immune system.
Ways to reduce stress
Research has shown meditation helps reduce cortisol levels and also reduces inflammation. It also helps prevent the breaking down of your chromosomes that can lead to irregular cell growth and premature aging. Check our article on CBD and Meditation for more info on the biological process as well and some tips and tricks.
Deep breathing can help boost resistance to fight infection. Yoga practice calms your nervous system and lowers the amount of stress hormones. Inverted poses can help the lymphatic system by circulating the fluid and in turn filtering out toxins.
Massage not only feels great but actually lowers the level of cytokines which play a role in inflammation. There is also a decrease in cortisol levels and well as a hormone called vasopressin that is believed to have an influence on aggressive behavior.
You pet can also benefit from a good massage. Pet massage and chiropractic treatments have become increasingly popular in the last few years.
People as well as their pets have what is called an endocannabinoid system. The ECS is network of receptors located throughout the body in the organs, brain and nervous system. It’s responsible for regulating many of the systems in the body.
CBD is what is known as an immunomodulator. When CBD or THC interacts with the receptors it helps regulate and return the body to homeostasis. This helps the immune system by keeping it alert and on track. CBD is an “intelligent immunomodulator” which can help overactive and underactive immune systems. CBD has been shown to help reduce inflammation and reduce stress and easing anxiety.
For more info one the ECS checkout our article on “the endocannabinoid system in pets”.
There are numerous ways we can improve our overall health and well-being. Some of this may seem like common knowledge but it’s always interesting to look at the science behind the physiology. Boosting the immune system great way to keep your family and pets strong and healthy.