Biohacking: Boost body resilience

Resilience is ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties’ and it’s been somewhat of a buzzword in the current pandemic. Much like the term 'biohacking’, a practise that is nothing new, but interest in it has increased over the past year.

In ‘Natural biohacking: Are you wanting that 'super fix'?’ I described the term biohacking as associated with, “providing our bodies with the tools it needs in order to heal, grow, and develop new cells - so in plain terms, to have a body and mind that is capable of functioning to its fullest potential.”

Natural biohacking can include sustainable, healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle to optimise body performance such as cold water therapy, sleep hygiene or plant-based eating etc.

Let’s take a look at how we can apply biohacking to support our immune systems and boost body resilience. 

The body has an amazing system that helps us in times of difficulties; it protects us from harmful substances, fights disease germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi removing them from the body and fights our own damaged cells too, removing them from our bodies.

This system, the immune system works 24/7 often undetected, silently going about its job; however if you do encounter a foreign substance such as a pathogen, it springs into action.  

The immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend the body, but what does it need in order to do this effectively?

Let’s look at nutrients first

You have heard how important a balanced diet is: vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains and yes this is true. Is this enough when we are wanting to protect ourselves against a potential invader? That depends. Family history, environmental exposure, medication, stress can all impact on how effectively our immune system responds. 

We may need more than wholesome food, we may need extra support in the form of a short term supplemental regime. Cleaning up the diet though is a good first step.

Start with introducing vitamin C, vitamin D3 and zinc-rich foods into your diet. 

Nutrients and their benefits

If you wish to enhance your immune system further, you may like to introduce some supplements as recommended by your registered nutritional therapist. Not all supplements are of equal value, that is why a registered nutritional therapist is able to recommend the right one for you in the right dose.

Now let’s look at stress

When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections when we have stressful feelings. In stressful situations, corticosteroid, the stress hormone is raised which suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system.

Stress case study 

A businesswoman has a stressful job; used to travel one hour to work every day in heavy traffic, snacks on salted crisps and drinks tea and coffee throughout the day. Now has a change of scenery; working at home, home-schooling her two children, little home cooking, her partner working at home too. A family history of diabetes. She has noticed her stress levels increasing and takes longer to relax. 

What is this showing us? 

In simple terms, a busy family with a considerable amount of stress, with diet taking a back step.This would be a classic case of using supplements along with diet to boost immune function. The family may also like to look at some of these lifestyle factors to not only support their defence systems but help with relaxation.

Lifestyle factors to support immune function:

Exercise every day:

  • walking
  • stretching
  • yoga / Pilates
  • resistance training

Fresh air every day:

  • walking
  • gardening
  • open windows
  • grounding

Cold shower every day (cold thermogenesis stimulates glutathione, the major antioxidant in our body)

  • Switch to cool then cold for the last 20- 30 seconds at the end of the shower building up to one to two minutes.

Mother and daughter meditating on sofa

We have looked at ways to support our immune function and we have touched on some factors that impact it, so let’s recap adding in a few more to the list.

  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • certain medications
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • poor functioning digestive system
  • poor diet with low nutrient intake
  • family history
  • current health conditions
  • weight imbalances
  • un-diagnosed infections

Are you beginning to see how many factors in our daily life affects our immune function? It can be quite daunting to understand where to start, what you need to do to support not only you but your family too. So, let’s start slowly one step at a time.

Start here

  1. Tick off three additional things you can do to your diet and lifestyle.
  2. Build these three items into your daily routine.
  3. Keep a journal to see how you are progressing.
  4. Review the journal each week, do you need to alter in any way, perhaps add in another item or increase the amount of a nutrient?
  5. Check-in on your emotions too, have there been days where you have been particularly stressed, anxious, frustrated? It’s OK to have these days; seek help if you need to.
  6. Start each day fresh, learn from the day before.

One last point, build in some time for relaxation, pencil some ‘you’ time in your diary where you will not be disturbed. Your body will love you for it. 

Finally, if you do find it difficult to build time into your day to practise some small biohacking techniques, reach out to a nutrition professional who can not only support your nutrient and vitamin intake and diet, but can offer simple lifestyle adjustments too.

I also offer a 14-day 'Reset Immune System' self-directed programme to do in your own time. 

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/
  2. https://www.ifm.org/news-insights/the-functional-medicine-approach-to-covid-19-virus-specific-nutraceutical-and-botanical-agents/?fbclid=IwAR21MQ8VluDLHvy7sTWIqmfmzDJGdRU4mqQirF3JYPhidB-5USFAkgl3UGA
  3. https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-how-you-suppress-immune-system

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Camberley, Surrey, GU15

Written by Nuala Hume

Camberley, Surrey, GU15

As a functional medicine practitioner, I support people on their health journey including weight reset, digestive issues and brain health. I provide guidance and motivation on good food choices that can help nourish the body and give it the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Nuala Hume MSc, DipCNM, mBANT, CNHC
www.nualahume.co.uk

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