Interviewer: How do we weaken or strengthen our immune system? What are some of the things that we do in our regular day to day life, or as athletes, that weakens our immune system or strengthens our immune system?
Dr. Stern: Number one, 70% of our immune system comes from our intestinal tract. So the number one thing that I always recommend for immune system is a good probiotic. That's number one. Our digestive health is critical for a good immune system.
If you look at that, if you recognize that digestive health is critical for the immune system, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have good digestive health.
You need a good probiotic. You need to make sure that your intestinal wall is super healthy. I love L-glutamine, that's why I put it in my rebalance formula. You have to make sure that the bacteria themselves are getting nourished and they have a food supply.
That's why I put in an organic inulin, a prebiotic, in my probiotic rebalance formula, so that that microbiome is super healthy and your digestion is healthy.
Then what else affects the digestion?
The foods we eat and what we drink. So, lots of healthy water, cutting down on simple sugars, fried foods, making sure that if you have inflammatory foods like sugar or dairy or meats, that we're getting the anti-inflammatory benefits of things such as turmeric or ginger, and we're having lots of natural spices, lots of fruits and vegetables, things that support our digestive tract.
So, digestion is number one. Cutting out the bad foods, bringing in the good foods.
The second thing that I recommend for the immune system is to decrease cortisol. Cortisol is basically a hormone that's produced in the adrenal glands and it attacks the ability for our immune system to be healthy and functional.
There are a lot of negative impacts, but one of them is it decreases our immune function. So it's critical to make sure that those cortisol levels are down at a moderate level so that we can function right and our immune system can be really strong and healthy.
The way to do that is meditation, make sure you're getting enough rest, make sure you're getting good sleeps.
I formulated a nutrient support system for nighttime called Relax, which drives the cortisol levels down low. You get a deeper, healthier sleep. That supports the immune function.
And then there are also certain nutrients you can take. Mushrooms and different herbs and extracts that you can take that also support the immune system. I came out with a product called Resilient, which boosts the immune function. It's a blend of five organic mushrooms and four super Superman herbs that I like to call them, that really boost white blood cell count.
They're antimicrobial, which means they're basically like natural antibiotics in that they kill bad bacteria and viruses. The four are astragalus, echinacea, olive leaf extract, and oil of oregano extract.
Interviewer: Powerful stuff. What are some of the things that people do in their lifestyle that weakens their immune system? What are some of the things that deplete their immune system that they might not even know that they're doing?
Dr. Stern: Bad digestion or bad eating habits, number one. Not having proper microbiome or good enough bacteria.
So their immune system might be weakened because they just have taken antibiotics a few times and even if they're eating healthy food, they might not have the bacteria to either process it, absorb the nutrients, or make nutrients because good bacteria make nutrients for our body, and support our immune system. Bacteria is critical for the immune system.
So number one, improper digestion. They probably don't even know it. And then, even if they're eating healthy they might not know that their digestive tract is compromised because they don't have enough good bacteria.
Number two, anyone who exercises.
When you exercise, you're jacking up your cortisol level and you're really increasing the demand your body needs for good nourishment. So if you're exercising and you're increasing cortisol, you think exercise is good for you ... and it is.
Exercise is amazing for you, right? I would never say, "Don't exercise."
But you are increasing factors in your body that deplete the immune system and might leave you compromised and make it easier for you to get sick.
Interviewer: How about stress?
Dr. Stern: Stress, yes,of course. Anyone who's stressed, who works long hours, who's frustrated in their life, who's not happy ... stress is a critical emotion that increases cortisol levels. Basically, anything that increases cortisol is going to have a negative impact on your immune system.
I was thinking digestion. I'm thinking exercise. But stress in general ... exercise is a stress. Poor digestion is a stress. But being stressed, the feeling of anxiety or that feeling of stress when you're nervous about something, or you have a project due, or you're not getting enough sleep, that is always a depleter of the immune system because stress is cortisol. And cortisol is basically the devil to the immune system.
Interviewer: And it's like this weird cycle where you're stressed and then you're eating bad food, and then the bad food is causing more stress, and then because you're stressed again, you're eating sugar, sugary foods. And then it's just like this non-stop cycle. Then you're drinking to kind of get away from that stress.
Dr. Stern: Right. And here's the thing. Even if you're healthy, even if you don't drink and you're eating healthy foods, you can still be under a tremendous amount of stress and still not get the nourishment your body needs to function at the optimal level you want it to function at.
Interviewer: Yeah. For sure.