Keeping the army of immune cells that protect your body against infection in sound working order is vital for good health. When your immune system functions properly, immune cells work together in a beautifully choreographed manner to guard against foreign invaders, whether they be viruses, fungi, bacteria or cancer cells trying to gain a “foothold” in your body.
Unfortunately, a variety of factors can interfere with normal immune function. Your immune system is influenced by the foods you eat, how much you sleep, whether your body is under stress, and your exercise habits, as well as nutrient factors like vitamins, minerals and the phytochemicals you take in through diet. Another factor that most people don’t think about, which impacts immune function, is medications. A number of medications, even common ones, can disrupt the normal function of immune cells and increase your risk of infection.
Prescription Medications That Impeded Immune Function
Millions of people take a class of medications called corticosteroids for conditions like arthritis, asthma and allergic reactions. You may have taken prednisone, a type of corticosteroid, for an allergic reaction or an asthma flare at some point in your life. Such medications do a good job of relieving inflammation and itching, but they suppress immune cell activity and increase the risk of infection, including fungal infections, in people taking them. Some of these fungal infections have the potential to be life-threatening.
Medications called TNF inhibitors are another class of medications that have a significant impact on immune function. These drugs are used to treat the symptoms of some autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. People on these medications are also at higher risk for infection.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to undergo it, but cancer chemotherapy also cripples the body’s immune system. This is unfortunate since a healthy immune system helps keep cancer cells in check. Cancer chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cells, like cancer cells, but does collateral damage to healthy, quickly dividing cells, including immune cells. As a result, people undergoing chemotherapy are at higher risk for infections of all types. Fortunately, focus is turning to harnessing the power of the immune system to treat certain forms of cancer, although this is still in its early stages.
Do Antibiotics Make It Harder to Fight Off Infections?
When you have a bacterial infection, doctors frequently prescribe an antibiotic to eradicate the infection-causing bacteria. Like cancer chemotherapy, antibiotics do collateral damage to the immune system. A portion of your immune system resides in your gut and is influenced by the gut bacteria that make their home there. Antibiotics not only destroy infection-causing bacteria but break down the delicate balance between “good” and “bad’ bacteria in the gut. Contrary to the perception that all bacteria are agents of infection, commensal bacteria that normally live in the intestinal tract help support healthy immune function. That’s why prolonged antibiotic use is so detrimental.
Alcohol: Another “Drug” That Impacts Your Immune System”
A “drug” of a different type, alcohol, also has an effect on immune function. A glass of red wine with dinner might be good for your heart, but binge drinking is bad news for your immune system. Researchers at Loyola University Health Systems asked volunteers to drink 4 shots of vodka over a 20-minute period. During the subsequent hours, blood samples revealed the immune systems’ of the participants ramped up at first, but after a few hours their immune response became sluggish. Another study showed both acute and chronic alcohol use impedes cellular immune function and places binge drinkers at greater risk for bacterial and viral infections.
The Bottom Line
Your immune system is in a delicate balance that can be easily upset by a variety of factors – even the medications you take. Keep these factors in mind – and make sure you’re leading an immune healthy lifestyle. If you or your loved ones take any of the drugs listed above you need to understand there is a supplement that if taken daily can overcome the side effects of these immune suppressing drugs! This AMAZING SUPPLEMENT is called BioPro-Plus™ and you can learn more about it by CLICKING HERE!
-By Alternative Health Concepts
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Medications That Weaken Your Immune System and Fungal Infections”
BreastCancer.org. “How Chemotherapy Affects the Immune System”
New Scientist. “Booze binge has immediate effect on immune system” January 9, 2015.
Alcohol and Alcoholism. “Consequences of Alcohol Consumption on Host Defense”