This is the final blog of a four part series that was taken from a research paper published by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, Director of The Hope Heart Research Institute. In this series Dr. Dedomenico discusses what makes up the immune system, how to evaluate your immune system, what weakens your immune system, and how to strengthen your immune system.
Individuals can take proactive and preventative measures to strengthen their immune system. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step someone can take toward strengthening the immune system.
- Physical Activity: Be active as often as possible. Exercise is the most effective immune system builder when it’s designed specifically to an individual’s genetics. The right exercise boosts the immune system by mobilizing infection fighting immune cells.
Research Note: A study was conducted of 700 people participating in a standard exercise program taught by most gyms. The standard exercise program built a stronger immune system for 50% of the exercisers. The other half did not see any gain in their immune system. Also, walking didn’t build the immune system for anyone.
The Hope Heart Research Institute conducted a research project on sustained weight loss and genetically based exercise programs. In 2019, researchers isolated the genes for exercise and diet. The exercise genes show some difference in what exercises individuals should do to build their immune system. For example, some people can do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) because they have the rapid recovery gene. For others who do not have an active rapid recovery gene, doing HIIT will not build their immune system. In fact, it could be destructive. Therefore, designing an exercise program around genetics proves to be more effective at building a strong immune system.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight and Diet: Healthy immune system cells need good, regular nourishment. Focus on eating a balanced diet with whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of water. For those that are overweight, getting on a diet that is precisely designed for their body’s diet genes is the most effective way to lose weight. This can be done with the help of a registered dietitian. As mentioned above, excess body weight is the number one contributor to inflammation and a weakened immune system.
- Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. Improving mental wellness reduces inflammation which makes the immune system function better. If the stress is from the pandemic, the creation of a plan to strengthen the immune system will help relieve stress. Exercise also reduces stress. If stress is overwhelming, consult a psychologist to help develop a plan to resolve stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Treat Metabolic Disorders. Metabolic disorders such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are inflammatory disorders which weaken the immune system. Losing weight will eliminate metabolic disorders, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system.
- Don’t Smoke or Stop if You do. Get help if needed.
- Reduce and/or Stop Alcohol Consumption.
- Get a Good Night Sleep. Sleep is important. Make sleep a priority. Circadian rhythm stability is important in generating immune cells.
- Keep current with all recommended vaccines such as the flu vaccine. Vaccines prime the immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in the body.
There is a lot of information in the media about vaccines, which may be confusing. From my medical background and what I know, here is my advice.
- Each person needs to make up their own mind what to do for themselves or their family. After all, it is their body.
- Consult with a physician. They know about their patient’s health history and are a trusted resource to provide educated guidance.
- If someone had COVID, research has shown that the immune system is stronger against COVID-19 than people who received vaccinations. I recommend consulting with your physician.
- Vaccines prime the immune system to fight off infections before they take hold in the body.
The CDC says we will see another pandemic in the next few years. In fact, it could happen as another mutation of COVID-19. The best line of defense is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If someone is overweight, obese, super obese or morbidly obese with metabolic disorders and/or anxiety, stress, and depression, 85% of the time losing weight will correct these disorders.
A program such as 20/20 LifeStyles provides experts who can help cure metabolic disorders and super strengthen the immune system. Presently, 20/20 LifeStyles at PRO Medical has 160 professionals working in the program (completely funded by patients). These include doctors, registered dietitians, and licensed psychiatrist / psychologist, and exercise physiologists. 20/20 LifeStyles and several other weight loss programs, including a weight loss program for 9 to 15-year-olds, have been created at The Hope Heart Research Institute and are now recognized as potentially the best weight loss programs in the world by the National Institute of Health and others.
The 20/20 LifeStyles program provides a “precision diet” and fitness plan based on an individual’s genetic blueprint that will take off weight, cure many inflammatory disorders, and build a strong immune system.
When people have lost the extra fat on their body, corrected many of their metabolic disorders like high cholesterol, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and many others, exercise three or five times per week, and eat correctly, they will be fit. Their immune system will not only be normal, but it will also be “super” strong with:
- Up to double the immune cells circulating in the blood during exercise.
- The mucosa of the nose, mouth, throat, and eyes will have three times the normal immune system cells sitting on the mucosa surface protecting the body from viruses.
With this “super” strong immune system, if someone is fit and contracted COVID-19 or a mutation, they will likely have mild symptoms of a cold for a few days.
Bottom Line: 98% of all COVID cases have survived. The most deaths occurred in the 60 and over age group. The under 60’s survived over 99% of the time. Most people who died had a weak immune system due to inflammatory disorders, which is further motivation to get help from an expert.
Other posts in this blog series include: What is the Immune System, What Weakens the Immune System, and How to Evaluate your Immune System. We have also added an Immune System Frequently Asked Questions you may view by clicking here.
Dr. Mark Dedomenico, a former cardiovascular surgeon, played a key role in developing the procedure known as Coronary Bypass Surgery along with Dr. Lester Sauvage. Working together as two of the initial founders of the Hope Heart Institute, they also created some of the most significant developments in heart surgery. These included the creation of artificial heart valves and Bionit arterial grafts used to replace damaged or atherosclerotic arteries. Dr. Dedomenico’s work has also taken him into the areas of genetics, nutrition, exercise physiology, and behavior modification.
In 1992, Dr. Dedomenico began a new research project devoted to the treatment of early stage metabolic disease to prevent individuals from later needing cardiovascular surgery or medications to control hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. The research led to the creation of the 20/20 LifeStyles program. In 2002, 20/20 LifeStyles was selected as a credentialed provider of Microsoft’s weight-management program.
Dr. Dedomenico’s research and work with 20/20 LifeStyles remains ongoing and prevalent. He has formulated successful long term treatment methods of obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, binge eating disorders and arthritis. Additionally, Dr. Dedomenico is currently involved in a major osteoarthritis research project in conjunction with Colorado State University. He is devising new methods to control, prevent and stop the disorder.
In addition to his experience as a practicing surgeon, Dr. Dedomenico spent many years overseeing one of the country’s largest and most respected privately-held companies, Golden Grain Macaroni Company, the producer of many well-loved consumer products, including Rice-a-Roni, Mission and Golden Grain pasta, Ghirardelli chocolates, and Vernell candies.