by Aimee Pugh Bernard, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
For immune health, some influencers seem to think the Goldilocks philosophy of “just right” is overrated. Why settle for less immunity when you can have more? Many social media posts push supplements and other life hacks that “boost your immune system” to keep you healthy and fend off illness.
However, these claims are not based on science and what is known about immune function. Healthy immune systems don’t need to be “boosted.” Instead, the immune system works best when it is perfectly balanced. Scientific experts on the immune system – immunologists – know that too much of an immune reaction could result in allergies, autoimmune disorders or chronic inflammation. On the flip side, too little of an immune reaction could result in illness or infection.
Your immune system requires a delicate balance to operate properly. When it’s out of balance, your immune system itself can cause disease.
The immune system is the mobile defense system of your body. It is a complex network of cells and organs that work together to protect your body from infection and disease. Your immune cells are continually on patrol, traveling throughout your body looking for infectious invaders and damage.
New immune cells are created in your bone marrow. Certain immune cells – called B and T cells – are the special forces of the immune system, playing an important role in the elimination of infectious invaders. Because of this role, these cells undergo a rigorous boot camp during their development to ensure they will not discharge friendly fire on healthy cells in the body.