This winter the flu has been prevalent, and has affected a record number of people. The flu vaccine can help prevent people from getting a particular strain of the flu, and if they do get it, it may be less severe. Why do the flu and other common ailments affect people so differently? How does our body protect us against diseases? Do products that claim to “boost” our immune system work?
The key system that the body uses to defend against diseases is the immune system. The immune system is a complicated system that works as a balanced network all over our body to protect us against disease.
There are a lot of statements claiming that by taking a certain supplement, living a certain way, following a specific diet, or even drinking a certain shake, you can “boost” your immune system. Is that even scientifically possible?
At present there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function. There is evidence, however, that every part of our body functions better when following a healthy living lifestyle. This includes getting enough sleep, reducing stress, not smoking, eating a healthy diet high in vegetables, exercising regularly, drinking alcohol only in moderation, maintaining a healthy weight, and washing your hands frequently.
The cancer community and the mesothelioma community have been hearing a good deal about research into the immune system. Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses certain specific parts of the immune system to fight disease. Immunotherapy works in a variety of ways by stimulating the immune system to work harder, or by giving the immune system man-made proteins to fight the cancer cells. Immunotherapy can work with existing therapies to fight cancer or it can be the principal treatment depending on the patient‘s cancer. Targeted therapies involving activating and harnessing targeted cells in the immune system have shown promise for some patients with malignant mesothelioma.
People diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, or any other cancer, and their caregivers, need to take care of themselves. A healthy lifestyle is a positive way to help your overall health. Malignant mesothelioma is a complicated disease, there are no easy answers, or instant cures, but the immune system is proving to be a key component in the search for a cure. Until the researchers unharness the workings of the immune system, it is in everybody’s best interest that we all adopt a healthy lifestyle! Take care of yourself!