How aging affects immunity
Immunity, the body’s defense system from infections and illnesses, tends to get weaker as we age.1
While the field of medicine is still determining the reason behind how and why immunity decreases with age, researchers point out that a person’s immune system changes as he gets older. Some of the changes are indicated below.1
Not responding quickly enough to vaccines.
When one gets older, he produces fewer T cells which fight illness-causing cells and “remembers” these cells to better defend the body against them later.1 Flu shots or other vaccines may not work as well or protect an elderly for as long as expected.2
More likely to get ill.
The body produces fewer immune cells that communicate less with each other hence taking it longer to fight or react to harmful germs.1 Moreover, the immune system’s ability to detect and correct cell defects also declines. 2
Slow recovery from injuries, infection and illnesses
As one ages the body produces fewer immune cells, including white blood cells. This causes a slow healing period from illnesses and injuries.1
An autoimmune disorder may develop.
This is a disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues. 2
How to keep a healthy immunity
- Don’t skip your vaccines. Even though they might not be as effective, getting the flu and pneumonia vaccines and other vaccines that your health care provider recommends, is important to lower your risk of serious illnesses.1, 2
- Give importance to sleep. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Research clearly shows that too little sleep — or poor-quality sleep — lowers immunity, even in young healthy people.1
- Manage stress. Over time, stress may lessen your immune response. When a person is constantly worried about something, it takes a toll on their body. Stress can also trigger other issues, like poor sleep and a bad diet, which both may affect your immunity.1
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise helps boost your immune system. Research also suggests it helps cells move more freely, which helps them do their job better.1, 2
- Eat a balanced diet. A varied diet full of protein, vitamins and mineral-rich foods like lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit helps the immune system function at its best. Eating a healthy diet also helps you keep a healthy weight.1
For convenience, consider Ensure to provide extra protein and energy. It contains HMB, also called beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, which is a muscle-preserving ingredient that works with protein to help fight muscle loss. 3