Warding Off Bacterial Infection by Boosting Your Immune System

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When you get a bacterial infection, the odds are good that you will end up with a prescription for antibiotics. Not only does that mean you have to deal with uncomfortable side effects, but it also has implications for the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Just this week, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted research efforts that have identified “nightmare bacteria” in the gut that are completely resistant to today’s antibiotics. This news got a lot of patients worried, and for good reason: antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose a major threat to human health. Even though the CDC only reported that about 1,400 patients in the United States tested positive for these bacteria in the last year, they also noted that they found previously-unidentified variants in more than 200 of the patients, which suggests that antibiotic-resistant bacteria may become an even bigger problem in the future.

News like this serves as an important reminder to do everything you can to ward off bacterial infection by boosting your immune system. The more often you have to take antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, the less effective they will be for you (and others) in the future. Therefore, the best option is to take preventive action. Read on to learn more about how chiropractic care, massage therapy, and smart nutrition can all keep your immune system healthy and ready to fight off bacteria.

The Immune Benefits of Chiropractic Care: How Spinal Manipulation Can Help

If you don’t think a chiropractic adjustment can boost your immune system, you might want to think again. While many people associate chiropractic care with alleviating back pain, realigning your spine can actually have broad, systemic benefits that support a wide range of body processes, including the functioning of your immune system. In a widely cited scientific journal article,a  group of researchers from the National College of Chiropractic in Illinois found that spinal manipulation promoted the release of neutrophils, which are white blood cells that serve as the first line of defense in your innate immune system. These cells destroy bacteria and other microbes by digesting them, and the findings of the study suggest that getting a regular spinal manipulation will ensure that they are readily available to do so when your system encounters a foreign invader.

The Immune-Boosting Benefits of Massage

Like spinal manipulation, massage can also support a healthy immune system by increasing the production of neutrophils, the immune cells that can digest bacteria. According to a study from 1994, the level of neutrophils circulating in the blood increases significantly from baseline in the several hours after you get a massage. There is additional research indicating that a regular massage can also increase levels of two other immune cell types–natural killer cells and lymphocytes–which are involved in combating viral infections.

More broadly, the stress-alleviating benefits of massage therapy can also help boost the immune system. Massage therapy has been shown to promote a decrease in cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) and an increase in serotonin and dopamine (two neurotransmitters associated with mood elevation and relaxation). Stress places both physical and mental strain on your body, so when your stress levels are low, your body is better able to fight off infection.

Another way that massage can help fight off infection is by improving your circulation. When you get a massage, it opens up your blood vessels, flushes out toxins, and makes sure that your blood cells are able to deliver the oxygen and nutrients that your tissues need to stay healthy and strong–even when they encounter bacterial invader. Also, if you are exposed to harmful bacteria, having good circulation ensures that neutrophils and other components of your immune system can quickly and effectively eliminate the infection, thereby reducing the likelihood that you will end up having to take antibiotics.

Foods to Fight Off Bacterial Infections

If you’re particularly prone to bacterial infections, you might also consider adjusting your diet. If you increase your intake of foods that have natural antibacterial properties, you may be less likely to come down with an infection. Here are a few nutritional options to try:

 

  • Apple cider vinegar. The organic compounds in apple cider vinegar can directly interfere with cellular processes in harmful bacteria, and it can also elevate the effectiveness of your immune system by improving the acid environment in your body. Try adding apple cider to your vinaigrette for a tangy salad, use it in a marinade for your chicken breast, or add a tablespoon to your morning smoothie.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with natural antibacterial properties. You can use this spice in Asian cooking, or you can find it in supplement form. A curcumin supplement may be more effective for fighting bacterial infections because today’s formulations are designed to improve bioavailability, making the substance easier for your body to absorb.
  • Garlic. The benefits of garlic for both preventing and treating infections have been well-known for centuries. If you’re looking to add a twist to an old favorite, try roasting almonds with garlic or using it to spice up your macaroni and cheese.

 

 

Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is here to help you face a wide range of health concerns through high quality chiropractic care, massage therapy, and nutrition services. Contact us today for more information!

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