15 Scientific Ideas About the Immune System You Need to Hear About

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People know that ginger, blueberries, spending time out in the sun and fresh air are good for our health even though we don’t understand the chemistry and biology behind it.

Today we know much more, and it seems as though the power and complexity of the immune system will never stop surprising us. Even today, with all the modern medicines, there are still some unexpected connections between immunity and different human organs, foods, and behaviors. 

Here is a list of articles, videos and research papers that include interesting, fresh takes on human immunity and its different aspects.

1. Red Light Therapy Boosts Your Immune System

Red light therapy is not a new concept. Its beneficial effects on our health have been studied for at least 50 years now. Boosting the immune system is just one of these effects. 

The idea behind red light therapy is that the body is a battery that needs to be charged in order to function well. One of the best ways to charge it is to expose it to specific light spectrums: red and near-infrared. 

When the battery is charged, it has enough energy to keep all the systems running at the best possible level. The immune system, in particular, thrives when you undergo red light therapy. Learn about all the ways RLT helps improve your immunity.

2. The Way You Think and Feel Determines Your Immune System Response

Asya Rolls is an Associate Professor at the Israel Institute of Technology. Her work is based on exploring the physiology behind the influence of our thoughts and emotions on our health. One of her goals is to try and map the neurological pathways that make it possible to influence the way the brain communicates with the immune system. In that way, we would have more control over how we fight off illnesses. 

3. It May Be Possible to Train Our Immune System to Fight Cancer Cells

When it comes to eradicating cancer cells, one of the major problems for our immune system is that it cannot pinpoint them or recognize them. Dr. Robert Weinkove from the Malaghan Institute, Wellington, New Zealand is working on ‘training’ the CAR T- cells to fight lymphoma and possibly other cancers as well. 

4. Depression Hurts Your Immune System

Psychology Today published a piece that explains “how the blues impairs the body’s ability to stay healthy.” It seems that depression is more than just a psychological condition. There is a growing body of proof that this is a systemic disease that also influences the heart, bones, metabolism and even the immune system. 

5.  The Gut Bacteria Can Dictate Your Immunity Levels

Gut bacteria has recently been a focus of interest for many scientists. Mainstream medicine is slowly discarding the idea that all gut bacteria do is help with food digestion. European Journal of Nutrition published a research that links the changes in gut bacteria with certain diseases and the way this reflects on immunity. Read in more detail here: PASSCLAIM1—Gut health and immunity

6. We Can Use Immune System First-Responder Cells to Target Cancer Cells

Dr. Elizabeth Wayne explains her remarkable idea that we can use nanoparticle treatments and use the first-responder white blood cells to deliver medicine to treat cancer. This would be an effective treatment with minimum side-effects because this targeted approach would spare healthy cells.

7. Stress Weakens the Immune System

According to the American Psychology Association, psychoneuroimmunology findings show that your mental state influences the way your body fights diseases. 

Some of these researches showed that even a three-day stress period resulted in a decreased number of natural killer cells, T-cells had a poor response time and immunity-boosting gamma interferon was dangerously low. Read more in Stress Weakens the Immune System

8. We Can Teach Our Immune System How to Heal Injuries Faster

Kaitlyn Sadtler has an extraordinary idea about how we can use elements of our immune system to heal wounds faster. She talks about new materials that would send out signals to the immune system to build new tissue when implanted in our bodies. Watch her explain her interesting ideas in her TED Talk.

9. The Quantal Theory of Immunity

The Quantal theory of immunity is one of the latest attempts to describe the immune system all the way down to the molecular level. The motivation for this is to try and answer one of the fundamental immunology questions: how the immune system tells apart the self and non-self cells. Read the paper here: The quantal theory of how the immune system discriminates between “self and non-self”

10. An “Epidemic of Absence” Is a New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

Moises Velasquez-Manoff believes that antibiotics, sterile environments, vaccines, and increased hygiene may be the triggering factors for many autoimmune diseases. He advocates the idea of restoring and reshaping our immune systems as the answer to this problem.

11. Boost Your Immunity with Better Sleep

While sleeping more than your recommended 7-9 hours a day won’t give you an additional advantage in fighting off diseases, the lack of sleep will definitely decrease your immunity. The National Sleep Foundation wrote an article that explains how this happens: How Sleep Affects Your Immunity.

12. Your Immune System May Be Overruling Your Free Will

Leo Priumboom shares his impressive ideas that dreaming and even hallucinations are connected and influenced by our immune system. Listen to his TED Talk.

13. A Good Laugh Results in Good Immunity

Experts in PNI or psychoneuroimmunology explore the case of Norman Cousins, who was diagnosed with a rare form of autoimmune arthritis. He noticed significant pain relief after episodes of deep belly laughter. Read more about the science behind this phenomenon: Laughing Your Way to Improved Immunity 

14. Your Appendix May Be a Part of Your Immune System

For many years, scientists thought that the appendix doesn’t play any role in our bodies. The appendix was mainly unnoticed unless we had appendicitis, in which case, it was removed surgically. Today, there are some implications that this organ has an important role in the complex immune system. Learn more: Helpful Bacteria May Hide in Appendix

15.  Exercise Can Prevent Depression from Influencing Your Immune System

After conducting an experiment on over 2, 000 people that suffer from acute or chronic depression, the results showed that the exercise helped alleviate their symptoms immensely. Read the details of this experiment here: Immune System Function and its Relation to Depression: How Exercise can Alter the Immune System-Depression Dynamics

New breakthroughs and innovative ideas in the field of immunity become more and more frequent. It seems that medicine is finally abandoning the idea of treatment as something that is done to the body and embraces the concept of treatment being something that the body does for itself. 

Connections between the brain, thoughts, emotions, gut bacteria, and immunity show us that our bodies are complex systems with unlimited potential when it comes to restoring a healthy balance.

Red light therapy is based on a similar concept. Charging the body with the energy it needs, boosts all bodily systems and increases the functionality of our immunity as a whole. 

Read more about how red light therapy works.