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Understanding The Relation Between Age and Immunity

With each passing year, as you grow older, you might have constant thoughts about age and immunity that pop up in your mind. Why am I falling ill a lot more often than I did a few years ago? Why do I feel under the weather as soon as the slightest season change comes along? Why are my wounds refusing to heal quicker?

While it is no secret that your immune system gets weaker as you age, it is important to address the underlying causes that may make you more prone to illness and tackle them in just the right way.

So what is the relation between our age and immune system, and how can we navigate through this natural process in the most effective of ways? We’re answering all these questions with an Ayurvedic point of view in this blog.

What Research Says

According to research by the American College of Rheumatology, the immune system changes with age, beginning around age 20 and accelerating around 50. Our immune system, like other bodily systems, runs down over time. This phenomenon is known as immune senescence. Immunity and aging findings from this research suggest:

    1. Cancers are most widely detected starting around age 45, peak around 85, and decline thereafter.

    2. Cardiovascular diseases also start to climb around 45.

    3. Infectious diseases are more frequent in the mid-50s and accelerate with age.

    4. When it comes to age and immunity, neurodegenerative diseases tend to emerge around the age of 70 and increase at a steady rate.

Immunity And Ageing: The Correlation

So how is aging affecting your immune system? There are multiple factors that help answer this imperative question, and here’s a lowdown on what exactly goes on in our aging bodies.

    1. The elderly are more prone to autoimmune disorders, and this is all because of an aging immune system. As you age, it gets difficult for your immune system to identify foreign antigens, and T cells respond less quickly to the antigens.

    2. In older people, antibodies become less able to attach to the antigen, which can be the common cause of frequent pneumonia, influenza, infective endocarditis, and tetanus infections.

    3. With lesser white blood cells, the aging immune system is less able to remember and defend against foreign antigens.

    4. The elderly immune system also finds it hard to respond to bacterial infections since they have considerably smaller amounts of complement proteins and do not produce as many as young people do.

    5. What’s more is that, as you age, changes in the immune system also begin making vaccines a lot more ineffective and short-lived. This is primarily because your T cells, which attack other, illness-causing cells are much lesser in number. These T Cells are able to remember an invader or antigen, then defend against it better later, but when you’re older, you make fewer T cells, which is why most vaccines require new ones to work.

There are many reasons why the immune system withers with age. One of the main reasons is inability of the body to produce as many T-cells or WBCs as it should be due to nutrient deficiencies. Some of them are; a poor appetite due to chronic diseases, depression, or loneliness.

Managing Changes In Immunity: Habits for a Better Immune System

While it is natural for the correlation between age and immunity to weaken your immune system as you grow old, there are a few habits you can induce into your daily lives so as to slow down the effects of worsening immunity with age.

Exercise Regularly

It is rightly said that exercising for at least 30-40 minutes 5 times a week acts as a medicine for each and every organ of your body. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are likely to age faster, thus making you see changes in the immune system faster. Working out regularly improves your immune system and research also suggests it helps cells move more freely, which helps them do their job better.

Eat Cleaner

Proper nutrition full of vitamins and certain other critical nutrients is perhaps the most crucial thing to do when it comes to immunity if you want to keep your immune system strong as you age. An Indian diet that we prepare and consume on a daily basis at home is the perfect source of nutrition that’s essential for immunity to thrive even with age. Give up foods that are junk, processed, and packaged, and choose more vegetables and fruits to consume every day.

Sleep Better

In a study of 164 healthy adults, those who slept fewer than 6 hours each night were more likely to catch a cold than those who slept 6 hours or more each night. Prather (2015) reported the findings with the conclusion that shorter sleep duration was associated with increased susceptibility to the common cold.

Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours at night helps recuperate your entire body, slowing down the effects of age and immunity drastically. According to research, less sleep lowers immunity, even in young healthy people. Those who have sleep disorders have considerably poor immunity and must visit the doctor to get it sorted out. Pro-tip: If you feel like you can’t get yourself to sleep early, let go of your screen time at least an hour before you go to bed and have a mild herbal tea before you hit the sack. Meditate for a bit and then drift into a sound sleep.

Quit Smoking

When it comes to age and the immune system, smoking does major damage to your body in several ways. Apart from speeding up your internal aging process, smoking also weakens your body’s immune response, making you more susceptible to illness and infection.

Calm Your Mind

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives but how you let it affect your body is entirely in your hands. Stress can make your body age faster than ever, thus causing harm to your immunity and making you fall sick often. So look for ways that can help reduce your stress and follow through.

Immunity And Ageing: Balance Ayurveda’s Solution

While taking care of your immunity might not be on your mind as often, you do start paying attention when you start falling ill often. Instead of taking a slew of medicines when this happens, Ayurveda suggests sustainable, herbal, and non-harmful ways in which you can strengthen your immune system every day. In keeping with this system of Indian medicine, we, at Balanced Ayurveda have come up with natural, paraben-free, and clean ayurvedic supplements for immunity that give your body the nourishment it needs to stay healthy at any age.

Our range of effective ayurvedic supplements for immunity includes:

The Balance Immunity Malt: A variant of the good-old immunity Ayurveda Chyawanprash, this herbal malt infused with giloy, dalchini, tulsi, and ashwagandha, nourishes your body with immunity-boosting goodness.

The Balance Immunity Drops: A combination of 10 powerful immunity-boosting ingredients like Giloy, Kali Mirch, Ashwagandha, etc. the immunity drops can be added to your daily recipes for an extra touch of natural antioxidants and rejuvenating properties.

The Balance Immunity Capsules: Meant to fortify your immune system these capsules balance out the correlation between age and immunity by strengthening your natural immune response.

The Balance Swasthya Potli: A great addition to your daily cooking, the Swasthya Potli is a unique and efficient way to infuse necessary nutrients into your diet intake.

Bibliography

Weyand CM, Goronzy JJ. Aging of the Immune System. Mechanisms and Therapeutic Targets. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2016 Dec;13 Suppl 5(Suppl 5):S422-S428

da Silveira MP, da Silva Fagundes KK, Bizuti MR, Starck É, Rossi RC, de Resende E Silva DT. Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature. Clin Exp Med. 2021 Feb;21(1):15-28. doi: 10.1007/s10238-020-00650-3. Epub 2020 Jul 29

“Aging Changes in Immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” MedlinePlus - Health Information from the National Library of Medicine, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004008.htm Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

“Immune System Changes with Age Differ between Men and Women.” The Jackson Laboratory, https://www.jax.org/news-and-insights/2020/february/immune-system-changes-with-age-differ-between-men-and-women Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

“Immune System in Aging - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” ScienceDirect.Com | Science, Health and Medical Journals, Full Text Articles and Books., https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/immune-system-in-aging Accessed 10 Dec. 2022.

Jarrett, Keke. “Age Is a Key Factor in Effective Immune Response - ACR Convergence Today.” ACR Convergence Today, https://www.facebook.com/Rheumatology, 4 Feb. 2022, https://www.acrconvergencetoday.org/age-is-a-key-factor-in-effective-immune-response/

Kingsland, James. “Aging and the Immune System: Can It Be Reversed?” Medical and Health Information, Medical News Today, 18 Aug. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/immune-aging-and-how-to-combat-it.

Prather AA, Janicki-Deverts D, Hall MH, Cohen S. Behaviorally Assessed Sleep and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Sleep. 2015 Sep 1;38(9):1353-9

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