What To Do About These 4 Signs Your Immune System Needs Support

The immune system is responsible for a lot more than you might think. Here are some signs your immune system may be weak, along with what to do about it.

1. Sweet tooth

What this says about immune health 

Sugar cravings could signal underlying gut dysbiosis, which refers to the overgrowth of “bad” micro-organisms in the gut, at the expense of “good” micro-organisms known as probiotics. A bad gut makeup deters good bacteria from priming the immune system to fight infection; control inflammation; and maintain tolerance to food, environmental antigens, and the body’s own tissues.

What to do about it

Restricting sugar and eating plenty of plant-based foods is a good start to correcting the problem.

2. Feeling blue

What this says about immune health 

When the immune system can’t control inflammation, it can damage the body’s own tissues and contribute to depression. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and healthy fat sources such as salmon, walnuts, and extra-virgin olive oil is foundational both for combating inflammation and for supporting mental health.

What to do about it 

Avoid processed foods rich in sugar and unhealthy saturated fats.

3. Painful periods

What this says about immune health 

Blocking off a week in your calendar every month so you can lie undisturbed in the fetal position is no way to live! Painful period cramps could signal underlying inflammation, hormone imbalance, and possibly endometriosis. While it’s tricky to treat endometriosis, it’s crucial that underlying contributors to inflammation are identified and addressed to reduce associated pain and tissue damage.

What to do about it

Chat with your health care practitioner for support. If you’re in the clear for endometriosis and still have painful periods, there may be an issue with estrogen balance in the body that can be addressed simply with food and lifestyle changes to decrease inflammation.

4. Bloated belly

Why this matters for immune health 

Insufficient stomach acid and poor digestive enzyme release are common causes of bloating, and they impair the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in food that are crucial for immune functioning. Food sensitivities also cause bloating and can contribute to inflammation in the digestive tract, impairing the gut’s ability to prime the immune system (creating a bit of a vicious cycle!)

What to do about it 

Testing for food sensitivities and considering supplementing with digestive bitters or enzymes (with supervision from your health care practitioner) may do the trick.

^This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.

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Article copyright 2022 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.