Jul 29, 2020 1:30:28 PM

Muscles provide Immune system support

Muscles provide Immune system support - featured image

Immunity in Muscles

It has long been understood and researched that our muscular system holds the key to metabolic efficiency. However, lesser research and therefore general public understanding has been placed into the effects of muscle health and immunity. In recent years there has been much research into the effects of muscle loss both in strength and composition (size)muscle loss both in strength and composition (size) on physical and mental health. From this information we see vast research information come together after 4 decades on effects of muscle composition on immunity, effects of sustained exercise on immunity and lifelong activity and longevity.

Why has it taken so long to accept ?

It has long been supported that “excessive” or “intensive” exercise such as marathons, vigorous sport competition or vigorous strength training regimes create a decrease in immune capabilities. This stemmed from the idea that an ‘open window’ existed within the immune system after vigorous exercise (for hours or days) that left the person more susceptible to infection.

“In a benchmark study in 2018, this 'open window' hypothesis was challenged by Dr Campbell and Dr Turner. They reported in a review article that the theory was not well supported by scientific evidence, summarizing that there is limited reliable evidence that exercise suppresses immunity, concluding instead that exercise is beneficial for immune function”.

Today, as we find ourselves surrounded by the perception of ‘risk’ to infection from SARS-COV-2 (Covid-19) and other viruses we must consider the above. While we must remain compliant to the public health concerns, it is very important to keep strong immunities through:

  • stress reducing and management,
  • both vigorous exercise and regular activity (less sitting),
  • varied nutrition and addressing food intolerances.

“Co-author, Dr John Campbell added: "People should not fear that their immune system will be suppressed by exercise placing them at increased risk of Coronavirus”.

What does the Muscular system do for the Immune system?

One of the purposes of the muscular system is to move body fluids – which includes blood and lymph – through the body.

The importance of the muscular system in assisting the immune system by way of lymphatic flow becomes quite apparent any time an individual must stand or sit still for a long period of time. With the legs below the level of the heart, lymph must fight gravity to return to circulation. Without regular contractions of the leg muscles, however, lymph can't return to the upper body readily, and collects in the lower legs, producing uncomfortable swelling, called edema.

Two, it has been well known that immune defences decline with age and general health. For example a major immunological weapon called ‘natural killer cells’ (NKC) are gradually are less effective at destroying virus-infected cells as we age. At the same time, we see increasing inflammation in the body tissues as we age or have prolonged poor health. Muscles come to the aid of this cascade. According to Dr. Janet Lord, director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham in England, the more vigorous the exercise and sustained emphasis on strengthening, the less inflammation. “No matter what your condition, exercise will improve your immunity,” Dr. Lord states. How does this happen? Excited woman training outdoors with arms up looking very happy

The insidious nature of chronic inflammation is its relationship to so many organs and processes in the body. For example, unregulated stress (inflammatory) can motivate you to stress-eat highly processed sugary/fatty/salty foods (inflammatory), and they can also pack a calorie punch for weight gain (inflammatory), promote a poor bacterial balance in your gut microbiome (inflammatory), and over time push you into metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes (inflammatory).
What's more, chronic inflammation is silent and produces no symptoms. Your immune system may be compromised and you don't even know it.

Cellular medicine has changed the understanding of what muscle health is…We now know that muscles secrete special signalling molecules, that travel to other organ systems such as the brain, the heart, the bones and other organs. These signalling molecules called ‘Myokines’ carry vital information and instructions to these other organ systems, stimulating a response and modifying their activity ! This includes the Immune system. So far over 200 kinds of them !

Prescribed movement  can get you on track to better, improved muscular strength, size and composition.

So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don't get any exercise.  Their muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity.

~ Jack LaLanne

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