If you are asking the question, "Why am I always sick", this is the right article for you. This is a question that comes up a fair amount from both new and existing patients. If you are someone that feels that they are always getting sick, it does raise some flags as to the underlying causes. What should you be thinking about doing to get your overall health back on balance to prevent this?
First, the type of sickness we are referring to are the repetitive infections that occurs in upper respiratory tract, colds, flus, etc. Often times these infections seem to never go away or they comes on over and over again. In a previous post we discussed "Why Am I Always Sick" and you can find the details of that through the link. Here we're gonna talk about some of the underlying reasons this occurs , and what to do about it.
When your illness is lingering around around for weeks, months, or perhaps even several months, what do you do? I listed out some of the things that come to mind here and we will discuss in more detail below. They include:
- stress and cortisol
Why Am I Always Sick Basics
We will get into the details of that list and what you can do about those things but first I didn't want to overlook some of the basics. The basics include things like diet, exercise, and lifestyle. Obviously, if you’re putting junky food into your body on a daily basis, your immune system and how your body responds to pathogens is going to be reduced or limited.
You should be limiting refined carbohydrate especially sugar foods and not eating a lot of dairy products. The sugary foods reduce the immune system response and the dairy products increase your mucus production which is not good, and we will talk more about below. These are basic things you can think about.
Exercise. Another basic thing to think about is your exercise and movement. You should be moving because that’s where a lot of your waste and toxins gets circulated out of your body. Of course, your arteries have muscles in them that are able to contract, but the veins don't and neither did the lymphatic tissues. So the blood nutrients and toxins in the veins and lymph get circulated through your body as you move. If you're not moving, well, it's not circulating very well. Obviously, walking a little bit is enough to get things moving, but the more you exercise, the more movement and circulation of your blood.
The same occurs with the lymphatic tissue. The lymphatic tissue is basically where all the toxins and debris buildup. This gets flushed through and then out of your body with movement. If you are not moving the toxins just sit in the tissues. When you walk, hike, run or something like that you get these fluids circulating. So don't forget the basics.
Why Am Always Getting Sick, Histamine
Histamine and allergy symptoms are the immune system's response to unwanted things trying to get into your body. Both result in increased production of mucus. As I mentioned, anything that promotes mucus production (chronically) is not good since this creates a good breeding ground for microbes. Any microbes that may come in to your nasal, throat, or lung passage, will more easily find a hospitable place to live.
One of the reasons the immune system produces the mucus is to prevent pathogens from actually getting inside your body, beyond the mucous membranes. While this does work, having the mucus present creates a protective barrier, from immune cells, for the bugs to reproduce. If you're not flushing that mucus out of your system, or it's building up and stagnant, it could create problems. Consuming a lot of mucus enhancing foods like dairy products, will lead to more mucus and potentially more infections.
Even if you don't have a dairy allergy, it's a good idea to avoid it because it's a mucus generator because of the carbohydrates and sugars in it. All sugary substance do this but dairy seems to do it more.
The other thing to think about is seasonal allergies. If you are prone to getting seasonal allergy, a lot of times people think they're getting sick, when really it is allergies. Sometimes they do get sick, but they still have the allergies as well. When the sickness goes away, they are still having allergy symptoms. They mistake the allergy symptoms which are similar to the sickness, as an infection. This can lead to taking unnecessary antibiotics over and over again. The bottom line is you need to treat the allergies if you have them. Do this before or in conjunction with the infection because sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the two. If you think you might have this problem, my suggestion to reduce your histamine burden is to cutout high histamine foods.
You can also take some nutrients that help your body reduce histamine levels. We often provide IV therapy that can help reduce histamine levels and help your immune system at the same time.
When people are getting this repetitive sickness in the fall or spring and they are not able to get over it, they usually have an overabundance of histamine. Now, there's other layers to consider with histamine but reducing the histamine in your diet can be very helpful. Sometimes, you do need to go see a doctor and get other prescriptions and guidance too.
Why Am Always Getting Sick, Digestion
So along the same lines as high histamine, we should discuss the role of digestion. You may not have histamine problems, but you know you have digestive problems. If you do, chances are you probably do have a little bit of increased histamine. The reason is one of the responses to inflammation in the digestive tract is to produce histamine. If you have chronic digestive issues, chances are you have some inflammation and with this you have some histamine there. Just outside the lumen of your digestive tract sits your immune system, wrapping itself around it. In the lengthwise way, the immune system wraps around the lumen over and over and over again. As your food is processed, the immune system works like a filter. It is doing a check of all the food (and other stuff) that's coming in. It also sends in probes inside the lumen of the digestive tract to check for problems and sample the environment. If it detects a lot of inflammation or problems, the rest of the body is going to get primed with that inflammation. It does this through the use of chemical messengers that the immune system produces called cytokines.
If your immune system is focused on digestive things and you get a bug in your nose, mouth, throat, lungs, etc it will have less resources to do so. This is like fighting two battles. So with digestive issues your immune system is may be focused on too many fronts and limit your ability to fight other infections.
So if you get sick a lot you should spend some time treating and fixing anything that might be going on with your digestive tract. Fixing your digestive problems will not necessarily help in the acute phase, but it can help with prevention.
Why Am Always Getting Sick, Nutrition
There are two ways to look at the nutritional aspect of "why are you always sick.". First are the things you can take nutritionally that may help your acute immune response. The other is the long-term issues with low nutritional status that can lead to decreased cell division. A good example is low white blood cells and insufficient red blood cells (like anemia). If you don't have enough nutrients, the cells really can't divide and grow the way they're supposed to. Some times this can be observed as an actual low white blood cell count. While we many see it as low white blood cells, when it is directly from nutrient deficiencies it is likely occurring in other tissues as well.
There are different ways to assess your nutrient status. A fair number of people have low normal or actual low white blood cell counts. In some cases, that's due to not enough nutrients, specifically like B12, folate, iron, and trace minerals. All these nutrients are needed for your cells to divide properly. If you don't have enough, they are just not going to grow optimally. Some people for genetic reasons need more of them. You can figure this out through basic lab testing and sometimes you need more advanced lab testing. Vitamin D is also important for fighting acute infections. Careful, not to get too much vitamin D, but having sufficient levels is important for fighting acute infections.
Why Am Always Getting Sick, Stress
The last thing to consider as an aspect of why you are always getting sick is stress and high cortisol. Cortisol has a negative effect to your immune system. It blunts the immune response. If you are under chronic stress, you should find ways to deal with that as well. Usually, if you are sick, that doesn't help with your stress levels either. So when you are sick, try to get more. If you're burning the candle at both ends and you're sick, and you have digestive issues, then you are really setting yourself your body up for a difficult time. It is easier said than done but you have to figure out how to balance out your life a little bit more.
When you find yourself under stress most of the time it can be helpful to take herbs like ashwagandha. This herb will helps with high cortisol and balance out the stress response, especially if you're in a really high stress period. During holidays, for instance, there is often more stress and this is typically when people get sick a lot too. So if you are under a lot of stress in the holidays, or any time, ashwagandha might be a good idea. We typically use this one,
You can also find it HERE.
This should give you some ideas on what to look for when you have the question "why am I always sick." If you have more questions about the details, please ask in the comment section below. If you would like a customized plan to help you not feel or get sick so often, click on the link below.