A new study finds that the secret to living to 100 and beyond is having lots of experience fighting off infections. It appears that those bugs and viruses can be good for us…particularly in the long run.
The study conducted by researchers at Boston University and Tufts Medical Center and published in The Lancet has found that centenarians have a particularly high number of B cells, immune cells, and antibodies, in other words, a super strong immunity. “Our data support the hypothesis that centenarians have protective factors that enable them to recover from disease and reach extreme old ages,” said lead author Tanya Karagiannis from Tufts.
Fight and Recover
It is important to note here that these centenarians did not avoid these bugs and viruses. Instead, they became ill, let their bodies fight off the infection, and then recover. By having this experience, likely repeatedly throughout their long lives, the research shows that these centenarians had developed a resilient immune system. Meaning their immune system didn’t decline with age, as is often the norm.
Why is decline of immunity the norm? Because too often our immune systems are not put to the test. Our bodies are not allowed to do what they were built to do.
The War on Germs
Americans in general and our health care system in particular has been waging a war on germs for some time now. The result of this war has been superbugs. With people running for antibiotics and over the counter medications for something as mild as a cold, antibiotic resistant bacteria have become killers while our natural immunity has seriously deteriorated. We all know someone who has acquired an infection once in the hospital that they didn’t have before they went in. That scenario has turned into an epidemic.
Now the proof is in. This study is telling us that becoming a germaphobe isn’t the answer to a long, healthy life. The fact is, we have all sorts of good bacteria and viruses in our body. Scientists estimate over 100 trillion of them that are necessary for life. It is actually the assault on germs that created antimicrobial resistance and is throwing our bodies and our environment way out of balance.
If you are seeking to follow in the footsteps of the centenarians in the study, there are things you can do. To start, question medications prescribed by your physician. Additionally, be aware of antimicrobial properties of home and personal products you use. Then, focus on strengthening your immune system. Eat right, drink water, maintain a positive attitude, and get plenty of exercise and sunshine. The healthier we keep ourselves through lifestyle, the greater will be our innate ability to adapt.
Stay in Balance
If you really want to support your immune system and stay in balance, take care of your spine and nervous system. The nervous system modulates the immune response, so an interference with that system can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. A 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you can help you along every step of your long and healthy life. Make the call today!