The complete guide to immunity and fertility
Are you sick of being sick? Fed up of having a flipping cold every other week, constant thrush or UTIs? Maybe you have major food sensitivities and every day you find another food that makes your tummy feel squiffy. If you nearly always feel a bit sick, chances are your immune system needs a boost.
Forever banish those lingerings colds.
Your immune system is the difference between feeling on top of the world or as flat as a pancake. When it’s working perfectly, it fights off nasty bugs and ensures you stay fit, well and full of energy When it goes wrong, however, it can have crazy implications on your health, from constant colds to much more serious conditions like diabetes.
Learn everything you need to know about your immune system, how it affects your fertility and what you can do about it!
What is your immune system?
Your immune system is your body’s defence against bacteria, viruses and other nasties which might cause illness. It’s made up of many different types of cells and organs in the body that all work together to protect you and keep you healthy.
What does low immunity look like?
If your immune system isn’t working properly, it will mean that different types of bacteria, viruses or other bugs can help to cause health issues. They can show up in lots of ways depending upon your own health history, environment and diet. Here are some really common signs that your immune system needs a boost.
- Frequently catching coughs and colds
- Regular cases of thrush or urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Coldsores that are tricky to get rid of or keep coming back
- Food sensitivities
Basically any minor ailment that you just can’t seem to get rid of could be a sign that your bodies defences are struggling to fight it off.
Autoimmune conditions are a much more serious form of immune disorder. It means that your immune system has gone on overdrive and is much more sensitive than it should be. This leads to it attacking healthy tissues in your body alongside other invaders.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus are all forms of autoimmune conditions where the immune system attacks specifics parts of your body.
Testing your immune system
Reproductive immunology is the area of science that looks at what happens to your immune system when you get pregnant. The theory is that if your immune system is heightened, there may be a chance it will attack an embryo, therefore causing issues with implantation and early miscarriage.
There is no scientific agreement on this theory yet and some IVF clinics do offer testing and treatment based upon this theory.
Immunity and miscarriage
There are several possible reasons why you may experience a miscarriage. A lot of the time its a painful but natural way for the body to reject an embryo that wouldn’t make it to full term.
When miscarriages occur more than once, it may be a sign that something else is going on. There is some evidence (although the evidence doesn’t all agree) that suggests your body’s immune system may see the embryo as a threat and reject it.
Immunity and endometriosis
The link between endometriosis and immunity is an interesting one and one that is not fully understood.
The root cause of endometriosis is unknown but one theory is that cells of endometrium (the lining of your uterus) may travel to places they aren’t supposed to. When this occurs normally, your immune system will kill them and you’ll carry on as normal. If you have low immune function, your body may not be able to attack these cells, they may take root and could be the cause of endometriosis.
Endometriosis may also lower your immune system as your body is in constant battle with the inflammation and attacking the misplaced cells.
Stress and your immune function
Stress is one of the biggest causes of immune issues. If you are constantly stressed, you body stays in fight or flight mode (as if you were being chased by a lion – heart pumping, muscles ready, brain on full alert!) it takes energy away from non essential tasks such as fighting off internal invaders.
How do you manage stress? If the answer to that question is huh? then we need to talk! No matter what stresses you have in your life, being chronically stressed is bad for your health, fertility and sanity. There are a million and one ways to manage your stress, you just need find what works for you.
How to boost your immunity
If you feel like your immunity could use boost, here are some practical tips. Not all these solutions will be right for everyone. If you need more advice about which ones will help you, get in touch and we can have a chat!
Ensure you have a varied diet complete with an assortment of different coloured vegetables, daily portions of good quality proteins and fats. Don’t fear the fat, it’s essential for cell production. For the top ten immune boosting foods, check the bottom of the post for your free download.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin to boost your immune system. Make sure you take the D3 variety. Taking a good quality multi-vitamin is also a great way to ensure you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals you require. My favourite brand in the UK is Wild Nutrition as they produce vitamins from food ensuring your body will be able to absorb them.
Essentials oils have been a lifesaver for me during this flu season. Onguard by DoTERRA is a great way to boost your immune system. Rub a couple of drops on the soles of your feet daily and if you feel a cold coming on, you can nip it in the bud by taking a drop internally in water or rubbing it on the affected areas such as your throat.
Have more sex.
Sounds bizarre I know! Sex actually boosts your immune system. Research shows that your body could potentially detect your partner’s sperm as a foreign invader. When you have sex a couple of times a week, it boosts your immune response by up to 30%. It also has the beneficial effect of reducing stress (when you are doing it for enjoyment rather than strict baby making) which helps your immune system too.
If your body is used to be attacked by the little spermy invaders all the time, it won’t have such a strong immune system reaction If you wait until your fertile time for sex your body launches a full scale attack at the time you most need the little guys to survive.
Sleep is essential for good immune function. When you are asleep, your body spends its time healing and repairing your cells and tissues. If you doesn’t get enough time to do this
Herbs that help the body adapt (called adaptogenic) are great at giving the immune system a good boost. Try Rhodiola or Ashwaghanda but please speak to a qualified herbalist or naturopath to ensure the herbs will not affect any other medication you are taking.
Ready to build that immune system up right now? Eating well is the easiest way to get started. Download my top tips for immune supporting foods.