This week, I read what I consider to be one of the most comprehensive, practical guides to repairing and maintaining your immune system: a relatively short, easy-to-read online manual entitled: “Biohacker's Handbook to Invincible Immunity“.
This book, written by the same biohacking and physician group from Finland who I highlighted in my article “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook“, delves deep into:
-Your immune system and how it functions…
-Viruses, bacteria and other pathogens…
-Innate immunity you are born with…
-Adaptive immunity that can be trained against pathogens…
-Individual differences and environmental factors…
-Measuring the condition of the immune system…
-Recipes for lowering inflammation and balancing the immune system…
After reading it, I reached out to one of the co-authors, my friend, beast of a powerlifter, complete biohacking nerd, and Finnish physician Olli Sovijärvi, to give me a synopsis of his top thirteen immune-boosting strategies found within the book. And you're going to discover exactly what he had to say below.
If you really dig this stuff and want to dive in headfirst, then follow the links I have at the end of this article to grab the book for yourself…
…and if you really want to take a deep, deep dive, then I invite you to join me, along with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Europe's top biohacker Teemu Arina and many more – to the November 18 Biohackers’ Summit in Helsinki, Finland (use 10% discount code BEN), which is also organized by Teemu and his team, and is the best marriage of ancestral living, wild plant foraging, smoke saunas, amazing food and biohacking you’re ever going to experience.
Alright, let's do this…
13 Underground Immune Boosting Strategies You've Probably Never Heard Of.
Yes, it is actually possible not to have a seasonal flu every year or catch a cold whenever you confront a stressful life situation. For example I have not caught a cold in five years. Before that it was normal for me to go through anginas, bronchitis and colds at least once a year.
Little did I know back then what the antibiotics I was using for these issues did to my defense system. Now I know that a single unnecessary course of antibiotics can actually destroy as much as 30% of your good bacteria. And as Hippocrates put it some 2000 years ago: ”All disease begins in the gut.”
But immunity goes beyond simply avoiding antibiotics, and if you want to build yourself an invincible immune system, I'd highly recommend you read on.
The word “immunity” originates from the Latin word immunis, which means “exempt”. Generally speaking immunity consists of all of the body’s defense systems that resist infections and toxins. The immune system can be thought of as a military defense system resisting uninvited guests.
To put it dramatically, the troops patrolling the body mercilessly attack intruders, blasting bacteria, poisoning parasites, devouring viruses and forcing cancer cells to commit suicide. Although functioning as a cohesive system, immunity is made up of various parts. A rough distinction can be made between innate (nonspecific) and adaptive (specific) immunity.
You can read a comprehensive yet straightforward description of the immune system in the Biohacker's Handbook to Invincible Immunity chapter that delves deep into making your immune system unbeatable, but below I have picked up some strategies for you that you may have never heard of.
1. Be Social.
Be social even if it wouldn’t seem to be your cup of tea. Lack of social contacts may be deleterious to your immune system and vice versa. For example, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered that the immune system directly affects mice’s social behaviour, such as their desire to interact with others. Blocking a single type of immune molecule made mouse brains go hyperactive and caused abnormal behavior – but restoring it fixed both.
Laugh often and avoid taking things too seriously. Frequent laughing has been found to lower stress hormone levels and boost the production of white blood cells and lymphocytes, which means better functioning immune system.
3. Drink The “Immune System Reset”
Bellow is my immune system reset recipe, clipped straight from the book, especially useful for “bouncing back” if you have been sick or protecting yourself if you've been exposed to the sniffles:
4. Lose The Gut
Reduce belly fat and get lean. Obesity, particularly in the form of abdominal fat, has been shown to increase leptin and decrease adiponectin levels, which seems to negatively affect the activation of immune system cells. The “Look Good Naked” article from Ben here is a perfect place to start.
5. Hydrate Your Saliva
Drink enough water daily. This may seem obvious, but do you actually know how dehydration impairs the function of your immune system? It decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins that are important for mucosal immunity.
6. Quit Stuffing Your Face.
Practice fasting every now and then. Fasting is an immemorial practice that throughout time has been suggested as a miracle cure for various ailments. In studies conducted on mice, regular fasting of 2–4 days per week for a period of 6 months decreased the function of the PKA enzyme (protein kinase A), making it possible for the immune system to rebuild damaged cells.
7. Drink Flu Killer Soup
This soup is great for you anytime but if you get exposed to the flu or get the flu, this recipe below, clipped from the book, is chock full of ingredients that will banish the flu fast.
8. Have Sex, But Not Too Much.
Sex can boost your immune system. Researchers have found out that regular sex is associated with higher IgA levels in the saliva. The same researchers also noted that having sex three or more times per week did not add any benefit to once a week group, but actually diminished the positive effects on immune system.
9. Take 5g Creatine Per Day
You can use creatine monohydrate not only for cognitive performance, power and strength gains but also to lower the inflammation in your body. Studies have shown that using creatine can inhibit the increase of CRP and TNF-alpha.
10. Add In The “Holy Trilogy”
What do astragalus, echinacea and cacao extract have in common? I call these three my “holy trilogy” of immune system maintenance, and all can lower CRP and have an anti-TNF effect, which means lower inflammation in the body. This is especially great news for people with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory and immune related conditions.
11. Eat ‘Shrooms
Use various medicinal mushrooms (for example Chaga, Shiitake, Maitake and Turkey tail to name a few) to create yourself an intruder shield.Fungi have been found to contain several substances that are likely to become more and more relevant in the treatment of illnesses and the development of new medicines. Many known fungi compounds kill bacteria and viruses. They also possess immunoregulatory properties. Practically all medicinal fungi are rich in complex sugar compounds such as beta-glucans which activate NK, T and B cells and macrophages. They also increase the levels of cytokines (interleukin 1 and 2), thus boosting the function of the immune system. Ben's top source is Four Sigmatic Foods, based straight out of Finland.
12. Drink Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Use extra virgin olive oil liberally (the better the quality the more profound your results, as you can hear about here). It has been shown that good quality olive oil can reduce CRP and IL6, which lowers inflammation. But then again, bad quality olive oil can actually make things worse, since these are often rancid, not ”extra virgin” and sometimes cut with inflammation induction high PUFA-oils.
13. Try The Alchemist Power Drink
Here's another of my favorite (and probably most powerful) immune-boosting drinks, straight from the book:
And yep, it actually doesn't taste too bad. You can learn far more about various other immune system modulative plants, mushrooms and herbs and discover more recipes in the book. Bon appetit.
Want more? Click here to get “Biohacker's Handbook to Invincible Immunity” (that link automatically gives you a 25% discount).
Or (and this is what I highly recommend) if you want to get the entire Biohacker's Handbook series, which dives deep into immunity, sleep, nutrition, exercise, the function of the mind and much more in 530+ pages of the best biohacking tips I've ever discovered, you can click here to get it all for $47 (that link also includes full access to all updates and any chapters ever added into the book for the rest of all time).
And I would also highly recommend you read my review of the nutrition chapter of the Biohacker's Handbook, which you will find at “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook“.
In the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below and I'll reply.