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Most of us notice that our immune system is suffering once we've already gotten sick!  But what if you could learn to read the subtle signs and symptoms that your body is telling you along the way BEFORE you catch the next cold or flu?  The interesting thing about our body is how, once you know enough of the basics about human biology and your body specifically, you can read it like a book!

In the same way that a medical doctor can diagnose you based on a list of symptoms and results from tests, you can do something similar every single day with your body! Now, I'm not suggesting that you become your own medical professional and skip out on visiting your doctor or ignore their advice, but there are definitely some things that you can be more aware of every day to keep yourself healthy!

With that being said, what are some of the first things you notice about yourself in the days and weeks before you catch a cold? While there's a general consensus of symptoms that many of us experience, each person's BODY is different, and what might be a regular symptom to you is something that someone else never experiences.

So think about it? Headaches, migraines, muscle aches, decreased appetite, indigestion, watery eyes, popping ears, fatigue? Any of these could be a sign or none of them.  So I challenge you to start taking a daily self-check of what you're feeling and try to read what your body is telling you.

In the meantime, keep your eye out for these 5 common yet subtle signs that your immune system is struggling:

 

1. You have a lot of digestion issues1

The gut microbiota that lives in our GI tracts provides essential health benefits, particularly by regulating immune system responses. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that 70-80% of your immune system is found in our guts and so constant and excessive bloating, diarrhea, a slow metabolism, and sugar cravings are all a sign that you've got an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria living in your gut.  These unhealthy bacteria remove space available for the healthier ones to flourish and your immune system to do its job effectively.

2. Wounds and sores take a long time to heal2

The body’s immune system needs zinc to do its job. Zinc also helps the skin stay healthy. So if you have wounds that seem to be taking too long to heal, you may want to check out the quality of your diet.  Zinc in the body can be depleted by alcohol consumption, and increased by eating foods like beans, whole grains, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meat.

3. Chronic Fatigue

Okay, fatigue is likely not such a subtle sign - but it's something that we take for granted as being a normal part of our daily and busy lives.  Yes, it's common to be tired; NO, it's not normal! Now, in the case of chronic fatigue, the immune system is actually working in overdrive, rather than working sluggishly. The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is still unknown. But mounting evidence suggests that an underlying biological process, such as an immune dysfunction, triggered by an infection, plays an important role in the onset of disease.3

4. Muscle & Joint Aches

Your immune system causes muscle aches and joint pain. During the immune response, white blood cells produce glycoproteins called interleukins. These interleukins cause the symptoms associated with colds, flu, and other bacterial or viral infections. These interleukins are mistakenly sent to the lining of your joints if you have an over-active immune system, causing inflammation and aches. 

5. Skin Conditions4

The skin is a complex organ that has devised numerous strategies, such as physical, chemical, and microbiological barriers, to protect the host from external insults. In addition, the skin contains an intricate network of immune cells resident to the tissue, crucial for host defense as well as tissue homeostasis.

One of the main functions of the skin is to protect the host from invasion, and it does so by employing physical barriers, biomolecules, and an intricate network of resident immune and non-immune cells and skin structures. Furthermore, in the absence of a challenge, resident immune cells promote skin physiological functions. Conditions on the skin indicate the malfunctioning of the immune cells and skin pH functions.  Things like rashes, psoriases, breakouts, and blisters.

 

Which of these are calling for your attention?

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