With the Covid-19 pandemic looming above our heads, many of us got a wake-up call about our current health status. Is our immunity strong enough to fight off the virus? Are we eating right?
When it comes to immunity, the necessities go all the way from daily nutrition to vitamin supplements. While there are many immune system food boosters that you can incorporate into your diet, some supplements might help aplenty too.
Likewise, people are eager to know about CBD’s benefits for immunity. For instance, does it work as an immunity booster?
In this guide, we’ll discuss the relationship between CBD and the immune system. Plus, we’ll mention some natural immunity booster foods and ways to keep your body prepared for a fight against flu or cold.
A Brief Introduction to Immunity
The human body is more complex than you would expect it to be. Most people believe its ability to fight viruses is limited to the white blood cells, but a lot more is going on.
From an endless chain of reactions to the secretion of inflammatory agents, the body does plenty.
When you step outside of your home, or even if you’re just chilling on your couch, you’re exposed to hundreds of germs. These include infectious agents like viruses and bacteria. If your immune system wasn’t working efficiently, you’d fall dead before you know.
The immune system is a combination of different cells, with white blood cells being the most important ones. When working in sync, this combination of tissues, chemical signals, and cells keeps your body safe from foreign invaders and attacks.
The two kinds of white blood cells are phagocytes and lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes are further divided into B and T cells, depending on their responsibilities and functions during the immune response.
While phagocytes ingest the foreign agents, a particular group of cells, called memory cells, is responsible for remembering each substance. Therefore, if the same germ attacks the body again, there’s sufficient preparedness to deal with it.
Along with killing germs, the immune system also prevents them from spreading to the rest of the body. Most importantly, your immune system checks the body for malfunctioning or non-functioning cells.
Once it locates them, specialized cells go to these sites and start apoptosis, or cell death, in these cells.
Are the Immune and Endocannabinoid System Related?
Scientists have known about the immune system for quite some time. However, the endocannabinoid system was discovered in the 1990s. Despite its recent discovery, we see a lot about this system and its role in major bodily processes.
Several other receptors are found throughout the immune system, which is related to the endocannabinoid system.
Experts believe that the interaction between both systems has a significant effect on appetite, memory, emotions, mood, and pain sensation. Moreover, it may be implicated in other physiological processes.
CBD and the Immune System
Remember how we discussed the effect of endocannabinoids on the immune system. Since CBD mimics the structure and action of endocannabinoids, it might impact the immune system in similar ways.
A study shows that CBD has an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effect on immunity.
Let’s explain the first part. CBD lowers inflammation, which is a characteristic of the immune system.
When your body detects a foreign agent or any problem that has to be solved by the immune system, it releases inflammatory markers. These create inflammation at the site of the problem.
Think of inflammation as a fire alarm to tell the immunity that there’s something wrong here. Once the immune system senses this alarm, it sends the relevant cells to the site to fight off the invaders.
CBD shuts off this alarm system.
Moreover, it acts as an immunosuppressant, reducing the inflammatory response of the immune system. Additionally, it may suppress cytokine and T cell functioning.
Considering this, you might believe CBD to be harmful to the immune system. Sure enough, you don’t want to use anything that might lower your body’s security, would you?
Well, in some cases, you do.
Use of CBD as an Immunosuppressant
Autoimmune diseases are ailments that result from the malfunctioning or overworking of the immune system. It’s your body attacking itself. In these cases, CBD might be a potential treatment since it suppresses the excessive immune response.
In an autoimmune disease, your immune system starts attacking the healthy cells along with the damaged ones. Some common autoimmune disorders are Psoriasis and Multiple Sclerosis.
In most cases, the body reacts aggressively because of excess inflammation.
Since there’s a lot of inflammation at a site, the immune system keeps getting triggered to produce more attacking cells.
Therefore, these immune cells go to healthy body cells and start killing them because they associate inflammation with an outsider’s attack. That’s why CBD might be a helpful agent in autoimmune diseases, such as MS.
Can I Consume CBD Oil to Boost My Immunity?
Studies demonstrate the CBD benefits for our immune system.
Based on a 2017 study, CBD and THC have immunomodulatory effects on our intestinal lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is home to many immune cells and contains half of the body’s white blood cells.
As discussed earlier, white blood cells ward off foreign cells that infiltrate our body. As such, oral administration of CBD benefits our health by boosting our immune system.
Make sure you check a CBD product for certain things before buying it, as some CBD brands sell fake products. Here are a few things you need to look for while selecting a CBD product.
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Make sure you’re purchasing a CBD product from a reputable brand. That might cost you a bit more, but it’s best not to compromise on quality. Otherwise, you might end up buying a cheap, low-quality product.
Check for the ingredients. Are they natural or synthetic? A wise choice to make here is to select a product with natural ingredients. Avoid buying products with artificial flavorings.
Is the CBD product tested in a third-party lab? Pay attention to the packaging; you’ll find if it’s third-party tested or not. A product undergoing testing can be trusted.
You can easily find a brand’s website if it’s authentic. This is another plus as you can go through the customer reviews to know more about the validity of a company’s product.
Another important aspect is the amount of THC. Ideally, it’s best to go with a product that has 0% THC. In this case, CBD isolate or Broad-spectrum CBD are the best choices.
However, if you choose a product with THC, make sure THC concentration is less than or equal to 0.3% and not more than that.
While a few studies indicate that CBD can help boost immunity, it is to be noted that the research is limited.
Hence, we cannot rely entirely on a few studies. Scientists are still studying CBD to know the full extent of its benefits.
So, before you think about consuming CBD for immunity, its best to consider three things:
- Take a low dose at first, and then gradually increase it.
- Consult your doctor before planning to incorporate CBD into your diet.
- If you’re pregnant or nursing, talk to your health practitioner.
How to Build Stronger Immunity?
Until we know more about the relationship between CBD and the immune system, you can take natural immune booster supplements like ginger, broccoli, yogurt, and almonds.
Likewise, some vitamins to boost immunity include Vitamin C, E, A, D, and B12.
The B group is considered to be one of the best vitamins for the immune system. Plus, oranges and berries are among the fruits that boost the immune system.
While the body is always on a red alert, you need to improve your diet to strengthen immunity naturally. Luckily, many immune system booster foods are readily available and can be used without any harm.
Additional Tips to Boost Immunity
Besides consuming a nutritious diet, you can also improve your immunity by following a few healthy habits.
Get Enough Sleep
When we sleep, specific immunity-boosting proteins known as cytokines are released in our bodies. Conversely, a lack of sleep can decrease the production of these proteins.
Therefore, getting seven to eight hours of sleep is crucial for every adult.
Quit Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol and smoking can have adverse effects on our health.
Unfortunately, many people have increased smoking and alcohol consumption since the pandemic.
However, studies show that alcohol intake and smoking can decrease our body’s immunity. So, it’s best to cut down these bad habits if you care about your health.
Physical activity boosts our immune system like anything.
Also, exercise isn’t always the strenuous muscle-building exercises you do in the gym. A simple physical activity is also a form of exercise.
You can try running, walking, swimming, or even dancing to keep your body healthy and increase immunity.
CBD benefits have been the talk of the town since it first appeared on the market. However, more research is needed to determine the benefits of CBD on the immune system.
Researchers are still investigating the interaction between CBD and the immune system. In the meantime, you can implement some immunity-enhancing habits and eat some immunity-boosting foods.