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Using Your Nervous System to Enhance Your Immune System | Episode 44 - Andrew Huberman
Huberman Lab
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Using Your Nervous System to Enhance Your Immune System | Episode 44

Huberman Lab

Andrew Huberman

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I am aware of some studies that are ongoing now where augmenting the serotonin system through either supplementation of tryptophan or 5-HTP or even serotonin itself... is being looked at for its capacity to increase the amount of circulation in the glymphatic system. The ideas is that it might... potentially lead to more rapid recovery from injury and illness and potentially ramp up, if you will, the activity of the immune system.

5-HTP Supplementation Pre-Bed Increases Glymphatic System Activity When Sick

This is a reminder that whenever possible, unless eating or speaking, you want to be nasal breathing, not breathing through your mouth. Your nose is a much better filter for viruses and bacteria than is your mouth.

Nasal Breathing Reduces Infection Risk from Viruses & Bacteria

The third way to keep a healthy line of defense for your entire mucous tract is to enhance the proliferation of good gut microbiota. The best way to enhance the quality of your gut microbiome and the mucus lining that serves as this protective layer all along your body is to ingest 2-4 servings a day of fermented foods, low-sugar fermented foods...

2-4 Servings/Day of Low-Sugar Fermented Foods Improves Immune System Health

5-HTP is a supplement that I've talked about before on this podcast that I actually do not recommend for most people for sake of sleep because it can disrupt the normal architecture of sleep and create a deep sleep early in the night and then a spontaneous waking with some trouble to get back to sleep.

Andrew's Recommendation: Only Supplement With 5-HTP When Sick (300-500 mg, 30-60 Min. Pre-Bed)

The other way to try and keep out bad things and to avoid getting sick is the advice that your mother and certainly my mother gave me, which is to not touch your eyes after touching other people or touching other surfaces.

To Avoid Getting Sick, Stop Touching Your Eyes

What they found was that just one 15-minute sauna session could really increase white blood cell profiles and could adjust cortisol levels in ways that were beneficial for combating infection.

A 15-Minute Sauna Session Combats Infection Through White Blood Cell & Cortisol Modulation

Acupuncture can reduce inflammation in the body .... By stimulating the body in particular ways at particular sites on the body, they were able to liberate certain cells and molecules that enhance the function of the immune system and potentially can be used to combat different types of infection.

Acupuncture Improves Immune System Health By Liberating Anti-Inflammatory Molecules

While mucus might seem kind of gross to some of you, the more you learn about mucus, the more you realize that mucus is really, really cool. Because mucus essentially acts as a filter, as a trap, for bacteria and viruses, and it has certain ways of scrubbing or killing those bacteria and viruses.

Skin & Mucus Are Key Components of the Layer 1 Immune System

If you've ever noticed, when you wake up in the morning, you have some sleep in your eyes, the kind of crusty stuff in the corners of your eyes or on your eyelashes, that sleep, that crust, are actually dead bacteria that you've successfully battled during the night.

To Avoid Getting Sick, Stop Touching Your Eyes

In both sick individuals, sick from bacterial or viral infection, and in people with major depression, it's been shown that there are robust increases in the levels of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha.

Sick & Depressed Individuals Have Elevated IL-6 & TNF Alpha Levels

There are two other features of sickness behavior definitely worth pointing out. One is a theory, which is that the reduced appetite—in particular, appetite for protein-rich foods—when sick is thought to be an attempt, a subconscious attempt, of the organism to reduce the amount of iron that it's taking in.

Reduced Appetite When Sick May Be the Body Attempting to Reduce Iron Intake

Motivational state and mindset has a powerful impact on various aspects of the immune system that were thought to be independent of the brain and mind and thinking.

Dopamine System Activation Improves Immune System Health & Reduces Tumor Size

When cancer patients or very ill people or people who are suffering from very debilitating injuries... when people had or reported a sense of hope, their rates of recovery were much higher.

Dopamine System Activation Via Supplementation or Cold Exposure Accelerates Healing