The Best Biohacks to Naturally Boost Your Immunity

Top Biohacks to Boost Your ImmunityThese are the top 6 biohacks to naturally boost your immunity and optimize your health.

Fall is coming and cold season is just around the corner.

If you’re looking for the best, science-based biohacks to naturally boost your immunity, you came to the right place.

Before we begin, we’d like to share a little-known secret with you.

Reducing your body’s inflammation boosts your immunity.

It's that simple.

When we reduce our body’s inflammation, our immune system can focus its resources to fight infection.

All of the biohacks in this article will help reduce your body’s inflammation and boost your immunity. If you combine all of them, you will improve your health and reduce your chances of getting sick.

DISCLAIMER: We recommend consulting with your health care professional. This article does not contain medical advice.

  • 1. Get plenty of sleep

  • Woman sleeping
  • Getting enough sleep every night is the ultimate biohack for improving your health. Sleep is key to optimizing your immunity and reducing inflammation. Sleep deficiency results in chronic low-level inflammation and increases levels of inflammatory markers (1-3).

    How much sleep is enough? That depends on your age and activity level and varies from person-to-person. However, recent research and sleep research foundations recommend 7 or more hours for adults (5-6).

  • 2. Reduce stress

  • Woman meditating

    Stress and loneliness are the silent killers in our fast-paced, remote, and increasingly impersonal society. Reducing stress is a powerful biohack that can improve your immune function and reduce inflammation.

    Research shows that psychological stress and depression increase inflammation and weaken immune function (7-9). 

    A frantic lifestyle and too much stimulation from electronics and social media all contribute to psychological stress. What are the best ways to reduce stress to optimize our health?

    Mindfulness and breathing exercises reduce perceived stress, increase relaxation, and can reduce aging and inflammation (10-11). Don’t have a lot of time? 15 minutes can be enough to change your mindset and promote relaxation.

    Relaxing activities and positive social interaction reduce stress (12). Meet up with your favorite people. It's great to meet new people, too! Take time for your favorite hobby. Play a game. Go for a relaxing walk with your favorite human or animal. 

    Anything that helps you connect with others and brings your mind into the present moment can help reduce stress and optimize your immunity.

  • 3. Get direct midday sunlight

  • Woman sunbathing

    Getting adequate sunlight is an important biohack for improving our health. Daily exposure to sunlight can improve our mental health and increase vitamin D production (13).

    How much sunlight is enough and when is the best time to go outside? 

    Research shows that 10-30 minutes between 10 am to 1 pm is enough to optimize vitamin D production while reducing the risk of cutaneous malignant melanoma (skin cancer) (14-15). 

    When the sun is high in the sky at midday, our skin gets more short-wavelength UVB light that stimulates Vitamin D production.

    Ever wonder why sunsets are red and orange? Sunlight has more atmosphere to travel through in the morning and evening, causing short-wavelength light to scatter but letting longer-wavelength light through.

    When the sun is lower in the sky, our skin get more longer-wavelength UVA light that promotes melanoma formation, and less short-wavelength UVB that stimulates Vitamin D production.

  • 4. Exercise daily

  • Man jogging in park with dog

    Want to feel better and improve your immunity? Exercise every day.

    Daily exercise strengthens immune function, reduces inflammation, and can even slow down aging (16-18). Any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Going for short walk can improve your mood and boost your immune system. 

    Vigorous exercise is great for preventing chronic inflammation (16). However, get enough rest if you exercise intensely. Exercising too much without adequate rest can actually increase short-term inflammation (17).

  • 5. Eat fresh, whole foods that are high in fiber and low in simple sugars

  • Spring salad with vegetables

    Food is the ultimate medicine and an essential biohack for improving your health. We are quite literally what we eat.

    Did you know that our gut health has profound effects on our health? Our gut contains approximately 100 billion bacteria (19). The composition of our gut bacteria affects everything from our health and fitness to disease, inflammation, and immunity (20-21).

    Simple sugars are food for pro-inflammatory bacteria and fiber is food for anti-inflammatory bacteria.

    Eating a diet that is low in simple sugars and high in fiber reduces inflammation and increases levels of anti-inflammatory bacteria (22-24).

  • 6. Improve your gut health and fight infection with oregano oil

  • Oregano oil. Oil of oregano. Oreganum vulgaris
  • Our final biohack has been used since ancient Greek times to improve health, reduce inflammation, and fight infection. Oregano oil is a first-aid kit in a bottle. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and can improve digestion and gut health (25-30).

    Recent research shows that oregano oil can also help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety (31-33).

     

     

  • Read Next

  • Top benefits of wild oregano oil

    Article Reviewed by Michal Matyjasik, Ph.D.

    References

    1. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Haack M. The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease. Physiol Rev. 2019 Jul 1;99(3):1325-1380. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00010.2018. PMID: 30920354; PMCID: PMC6689741.
    2. Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Carroll JE. Sleep Disturbance, Sleep Duration, and Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Cohort Studies and Experimental Sleep Deprivation. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Jul 1;80(1):40-52. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.05.014. Epub 2015 Jun 1. PMID: 26140821; PMCID: PMC4666828.
    3. Mullington JM, Simpson NS, Meier-Ewert HK, Haack M. Sleep loss and inflammation. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct;24(5):775-84. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.08.014. PMID: 21112025; PMCID: PMC3548567.
    4. Chaput JP, Dutil C, Sampasa-Kanyinga H. Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this? Nat Sci Sleep. 2018 Nov 27;10:421-430. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S163071. PMID: 30568521; PMCID: PMC6267703.
    5. Jean-Philippe Chaput, Caroline Dutil, Ryan Featherstone, Robert Ross, Lora Giangregorio, Travis J. Saunders, Ian Janssen, Veronica J. Poitras, Michelle E. Kho, Amanda Ross-White, and Julie Carrier. Sleep duration and health in adults: an overview of systematic reviews. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 45(10 (Suppl. 2)): S218-S231. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2020-0034
    6. Jean-Philippe Chaput, Caroline Dutil, Ryan Featherstone, Robert Ross, Lora Giangregorio, Travis J. Saunders, Ian Janssen, Veronica J. Poitras, Michelle E. Kho, Amanda Ross-White, and Julie Carrier. Sleep duration and health in adults: an overview of systematic reviews. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 45(10 (Suppl. 2)): S218-S231. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2020-0034
    7. Maydych V (2019) The Interplay Between Stress, Inflammation, and Emotional Attention: Relevance for Depression. Front. Neurosci. 13:384. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00384
    8. Rohleder N. (2014). Stimulation of systemic low-grade inflammation by psychosocial stress. Psychosom. Med. 76, 181–189. 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000049
    9. Calcia M. A., Bonsall D. R., Bloomfield P. S., Selvaraj S., Barichello T., Howes O. D. (2016). Stress and neuroinflammation: a systematic review of the effects of stress on microglia and the implications for mental illness. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 233, 1637–1650. 10.1007/s00213-016-4218-9
    10. Bartlett L, Buscot M-J, Bindoff A, Chambers R and Hassed C (2021) Mindfulness Is Associated With Lower Stress and Higher Work Engagement in a Large Sample of MOOC Participants. Front. Psychol. 12:724126. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126
    11. Black DS, Slavich GM. Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2016 Jun;1373(1):13-24. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12998. Epub 2016 Jan 21. PMID: 26799456; PMCID: PMC4940234.
    12. Leschak CJ, Eisenberger NI. Two Distinct Immune Pathways Linking Social Relationships With Health: Inflammatory and Antiviral Processes. Psychosom Med. 2019 Oct;81(8):711-719. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000685. PMID: 31600173; PMCID: PMC7025456.
    13. Taniguchi, K.; Takano, M.; Tobari, Y.; Hayano, M.; Nakajima, S.; Mimura, M.; Tsubota, K.; Noda, Y. Influence of External Natural Environment Including Sunshine Exposure on Public Mental Health: A Systematic Review. Psychiatry Int. 2022, 3, 91-113. https://doi.org/10.3390/psychiatryint3010008 
    14. Moan J, Dahlback A, Porojnicu AC. At what time should one go out in the sun? Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;624:86-8. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-77574-6_7. PMID: 18348449.
    15. Moan J, Grigalavicius M, Dahlback A, Baturaite Z, Juzeniene A. Ultraviolet-radiation and health: optimal time for sun exposure. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;810:423-8. PMID: 25207380.
    16. da Silveira MP, da Silva Fagundes KK, Bizuti MR, Starck É, Rossi RC, de Resende E Silva DT. Physical exercise as a tool to help the immune system against COVID-19: an integrative review of the current literature. Clin Exp Med. 2021 Feb;21(1):15-28. doi: 10.1007/s10238-020-00650-3. Epub 2020 Jul 29. PMID: 32728975; PMCID: PMC7387807.
    17. Cerqueira É, Marinho DA, Neiva HP and Lourenço O (2020) Inflammatory Effects of High and Moderate Intensity Exercise—A Systematic Review. Front. Physiol. 10:1550. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.01550
    18. Campbell JP and Turner JE (2018) Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Front. Immunol. 9:648. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648
    19. Sender R, Fuchs S, Milo R. Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLoS Biol. 2016 Aug 19;14(8):e1002533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533. PMID: 27541692; PMCID: PMC4991899.
    20. Valdes A M, Walter J, Segal E, Spector T D. Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health BMJ 2018; 361 :k2179 doi:10.1136/bmj.k2179
    21. Zhang YJ, Li S, Gan RY, Zhou T, Xu DP, Li HB. Impacts of gut bacteria on human health and diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Apr 2;16(4):7493-519. doi: 10.3390/ijms16047493. PMID: 25849657; PMCID: PMC4425030.
    22. Satokari, R. High Intake of Sugar and the Balance between Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Gut Bacteria. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1348. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051348 
    23. Myles, I.A. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutr J 13, 61 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-61
    24. Fajstova A, Galanova N, Coufal S, Malkova J, Kostovcik M, Cermakova M, Pelantova H, Kuzma M, Sediva B, Hudcovic T, Hrncir T, Tlaskalova-Hogenova H, Kverka M, Kostovcikova K. Diet Rich in Simple Sugars Promotes Pro-Inflammatory Response via Gut Microbiota Alteration and TLR4 Signaling. Cells. 2020 Dec 16;9(12):2701. doi: 10.3390/cells9122701. PMID: 33339337; PMCID: PMC7766268.
    25. Leyva-López, N., Gutiérrez-Grijalva, E. P., Vazquez-Olivo, G., & Heredia, J. B. (2017). Essential Oils of Oregano: Biological Activity beyond Their Antimicrobial Properties. 
    26. Boskabady MH, Jandaghi P. Relaxant effects of carvacrol on guinea pig tracheal chains and its possible mechanisms. Pharmazie. 2003 Sep;58(9):661-3. PMID: 14531466.
    27. Manohar V, Ingram C, Gray J, Talpur NA, Echard BW, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Antifungal activities of origanum oil against Candida albicans. Mol Cell Biochem. 2001 Dec;228(1-2):111-7. doi: 10.1023/a:1013311632207. PMID: 11855736.
    28. Chedid V, Dhalla S, Clarke JO, Roland BC, Dunbar KB, Koh J, Justino E, Tomakin E, Mullin GE. Herbal therapy is equivalent to rifaximin for the treatment of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Glob Adv Health Med. 2014 May;3(3):16-24. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2014.019. PMID: 24891990; PMCID: PMC4030608.
    29.  Feng, J., Lu, M., Wang, J. et al. Dietary oregano essential oil supplementation improves intestinal functions and alters gut microbiota in late-phase laying hens. J Animal Sci Biotechnol 12, 72 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40104-021-00600-3
    30.  Zou Y, Xiang Q, Wang J, Peng J, Wei H. Oregano Essential Oil Improves Intestinal Morphology and Expression of Tight Junction Proteins Associated with Modulation of Selected Intestinal Bacteria and Immune Status in a Pig Model. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:5436738. doi: 10.1155/2016/5436738. Epub 2016 May 29. PMID: 27314026; PMCID: PMC4903144.
    31.  Zotti M, Colaianna M, Morgese MG, Tucci P, Schiavone S, Avato P, Trabace L. Carvacrol: from ancient flavoring to neuromodulatory agent. Molecules. 2013 May 24;18(6):6161-72. doi: 10.3390/molecules18066161. PMID: 23708230; PMCID: PMC6270539.
    32.  Mohseni-Moghaddam, P., Dogani, M., Hatami, M., Roohollahi, S., Amiresmaeli, A., & Askari, N. (2022). A behavioral and molecular study; ameliorated anxiety-like behavior and cognitive dysfunction in a rat model of chronic unpredictable stress treated with oregano extract. Brain and Behavior, 00, e2727. 
    33. Mechan, A., Fowler, A., Seifert, N., Rieger, H., Wöhrle, T., Etheve, S., . . . Mohajeri, M. (2011). Monoamine reuptake inhibition and mood-enhancing potential of a specified oregano extract. British Journal of Nutrition, 105(8), 1150-1163. doi:10.1017/S0007114510004940