5 Symptoms of a Weak Immune System
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
The immune system is a complex organ that’s made up of white blood cells, skin, mucus and bacteria. Its central role is to seek, recruit, attack and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body. Without it, they’d have free reign and you’d be constantly falling ill. Your immune system works by recognizing the difference between your body’s cells and alien cells, allowing it to destroy any that could be potentially harmful. This usually works well but can cause problems if your immune system wrongly classifies some of your own cells and attacks them instead.
What causes a weak immune system?
Immune deficiency diseases can lead to our immune systems not working properly. You can be born with them, which is known as primary immunodeficiency disease, and is highly hereditary. You can also have secondary immunodeficiency disorders, which is caused by anything that weakens the immune system.
Other examples that weaken the immune system include:
Aging – as fewer white blood cells are produced
Lack of sleep – our body produces proteins while we sleep
Weak immune system symptoms
There are certain tell-tale signs that can indicate if you have a weakened immune system. Here are five of them:
1. You’ve constantly got a cold
Having the old cold every now and then is normal, but if you’ve permanently got one, then your body could be telling you that your immune system’s really suffering.Permanent colds are an indicator that your body isn’t equipped to fight off germs. Catching two to three colds during the winter, that linger for a while, is a sure sign your immune system isn’t quite up to snuff (pardon the pun!)
2. You develop regular ear infections
What’s considered regular ear infections? Typically it’s more than four infections a year. As with colds, if you’re constantly getting an ear infection, then your body’s immune system isn’t quite firing on all cylinders. It could possibly mean you have an underlying health condition.
3. You’re always tired
Most people feel tired as a result of the busy, always-switched-on lives we now all lead, but if you’re feeling permanently drained, then your immune system may not be operating properly. This means you can get worn out quicker because your body’s having to work so hard to fit off germs, infections and bacteria.
4. You’re feeling really stressed
According to research, long-term stress is capable of weakening the immune system due to the fact it reduces our lymphocytes, the white blood cells that fight off infection. The lower your white blood cell levels, the more likely you are to catch a cold or other form of infection.
5. You’ve got digestive issues
If you experience diarrhea for two to four weeks, then your immune system may not be functioning properly and may actually be harming the lining of your small intestine or digestive tract. Constipation is also an alarm bell too. If your bowel movements are hard to pass or look like small pellets, your immune system may be forcing your intestine to slow down. This may also be being caused by bacteria, viruses and other health conditions too.
How to look after your immune system
If you care for your immune system, then your immune system will take care of you. Here are some tips you can follow to boost your immunity:
1. Improve your overall wellbeing
Stress has been linked to causing immune system disruption, so where possible, try to reduce your stress levels. I know this seems easier said than done in our new normal with the pandemic, but here’s how you can do it:
Get a good night’s sleep
Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption
Discuss and share worries with people you trust or start a journal and write them down
Relax by using mindfulness, meditation or breathing exercises. I recommend the 5x5x7 technique to my clients
Doing more of what you love/enjoy doing most – self-care is critical
2. Focus on whole, nutrient dense foods
Ideally, you want to be getting your ‘five a day’ when it comes to fruits and vegetables. You may also want to go one step further by making sure your diet incorporates some, or all, of the vitamin and minerals, that are associated with good immune system health. They include:
Vitamin A – found in liver, milk and cheese and dark green leafy vegetables and orange fruit
Vitamin C – present in fruit and vegetables, including peppers, kiwis, oranges, tomatoes, blackcurrants and broccoli
Zinc – found in meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, as well as root veg, nuts and seeds, and wholegrain cereals and breads.
Selenium – found in nuts and seeds, grains, vegetables, eggs, poultry, fish and shellfish
Vitamin D – mostly comes from sunshine, but is also found in oily fish, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, spreads and dairy products
3. Other measures to support your immunity
Other measures include: not smoking, exercising regularly to get more of those ‘feel good’ endorphins pumping around your body, maintaining a healthy weight and trying to avoid infection by washing your hands regularly and cooking meat thoroughly.
Hopefully, your body will show and tell you if your immune system isn’t as strong as it should be by demonstrating symptoms like those listed above. If you want some additional tips and immune boosting recipes, download my FREE Immune Boosting Pack now.