You’re only as young as your immune system by Graham Lawton – New Scientist

Based on specific research performed at the University of Birmingham, UK, there is growing evidence that we can begin to measure our biological age.

By examining the chemical tags added to genes during our lifetime, we can now get an idea of our immune age. Our immune age is based on the function of our immune system, which can vary greatly based on the following factors and is a strong predictor of life expectancy.

What has an affect on our immune age?


Regular exercise has a dramatic effect on our immune age, in particular affects three different aspects:

  • Exercise can affect our first line defence mechanisms, the neutrophils, which become slower and less accurate as we age. Regular exercise, in particular at least 10,000 steps a day helps to reverse this and improve this function.
  • It reverses the degeneration of the thymus, where our specific T-cells mature and form directed immunity to viruses and other foreign pathogens.
  • Strength training in particular, helps to maintain muscle mass, reduces overall inflammation which can be caused by aging and is a significant immune boosting tissue.

Other aspects to improve immune function:

  • Statins – This cholesterol lowering medication seems to improve the function of the first line defence cells. Be sure to speak to your doctor before starting this medication as it has serious side effects.
  • Vitamin E – 90mg of Vitamin E helps boost immune function, but of ½ the dose before toxicity occurs, so again ask your doctor before beginning Vitamin E supplements.
  • Vitamin D – 25-50 micrograms of Vitamin D seems to have similar benefits to Vitamin E.
  • Fibre – Having regular fibre in the diet improves gut bacteria as seems to also have immune boosting activity.

This is a very exciting, evidence backed approach to improving your immune health.  Read the full article from New Scientist here for more detail.


More information can be found in the article from New Scientist by Graham Lawton available here

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