Winter is right around the corner and sunlight is becoming an increasingly rare commodity. We have less energy and more opportunity to catch a cold or a headache. Immunity is therefore all the more important. Here is the science behind why and what you can do to strengthen yours.
The relationship between seasons and immunity
The immune system is kind of like an invisible shield that protects us from harmful pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. They try to enter our bodies in any way possible, because they are looking for a suitable environment for survival and reproduction.
A study by the University of Cambridge published in Nature Communications showed that the activity of nearly one-fourth of our genes depends on what season we are in. Researchers found that genes involved in inflammatory processes are more active in winter than in summer. This directly increases the burden on the immune system.
So, knowing how to strengthen immunity during winter is essential to healthy survival of the season.
Get plenty of exercise, even if you’re stuck at home
In 2019, the Journal of Sport and Health Science published an interesting study by Dr. David Nieman on the relationship between exercise and the circulation of immune cells in the blood. Nieman found that participants who walked for 45 minutes experienced an increase in the circulation of immune cells for three hours after exercise was stopped.
The explanation is simple. Muscle contractions during exercise increase not only the flow of blood, but lymph, and thus also the circulation of immune cells which would otherwise remain primarily in lymphatic tissue.
Note: Lymph is composed of 99% lymphocytes, i.e. white blood cells that identify and destroy foreign cells. They are the basis of immune response.
Regular, medium-intensity exercise such as walking, running, cycling, hiking, or yoga is especially recommended. If you are looking for inspiration, check out the Instagram profile of our company trainer and ambassador, Lukas Kverka. He’ll show you some bodyweight exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home. (Czech language only, but there are plenty of videos to help you get the point!)
Eat well and don’t forget your minerals
Just like exercise, a good diet is essential for overall health. Among other things, this means getting all the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients your body cannot produce on its own. While the importance of vitamin C and other vitamins is no secret (you can read our blog about this here), much less is known about the importance of minerals.
Research has found that a lack of zinc, selenium, copper, iron, and magnesium negatively affects immune response. Indeed, these micronutrients act as antioxidants that keep our cells healthy. Zinc, in addition, promotes the healing of damaged tissue and manganese is important for the proper function of over 300 enzymes.
For these nutrients and more, Mana is the ideal solution. Our current recipe, Mark 6, contains 14 essential vitamins and 17 essential minerals, as well as new, chelated, and more soluble forms of zinc (zinc gluconate), magnesium (magnesium lactate), and potassium (potassium citrate). So, even if you’re too busy to cook, you can easily ensure that your body is getting enough of the essentials.
Take some rest. Your body will thank you.
By “rest” we primarily mean “rest from stress.” Stress affects nearly all of your bodily organs. Short-term (acute) stress helps us get through difficult situations, but long-term (chronic) stress poses a great risk to our health.
Even when you’re super busy, 5-10 minutes of breathing exercises, for example, is enough to lower your stress level. A couple minutes of meditation can also calm your heart rate and reduce feelings of anxiety. This doesn’t have to be complicated–all you have to do is sit and focus on your breath.
Getting out in nature is another excellent way to rest. According to a study conducted by Cornell University in January of 2020, even 10 minutes in nature can help reduce mental and physical stress, and improve concentration and mood. Last but not least, sleep plays a key role in the renewal of immune cells.
Unfortunately, there is no miracle pill that can boost your immunity in minutes, but a healthy diet and regular exercise can help maximize the ability of your immune system to protect you from external threats. ManaDrink and ManaPowder can cover the diet side of things, because they contain all the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. And if you drink them, you just might have more time for exercise, too :)
 Cleveland clinic. (2020) Strengthen Your Immune System With 4 Simple Strategies. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/strengthen-your-immune-system-with-simple-strategies
 Genevive R. Meredith, Donald A. Rakow, Erin R. B. Eldermire, Cecelia G. Madsen, Steven P. Shelley, Naomi A. Sachs. (2020) Minimum time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact The Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure it: A Scoping Review. Frontiers in Psychology.
 Medical News Today. (2018) How the immune system works. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320101#immunity
 X. C. Dopico,M. Evangelou, R. C. Ferreira, Hui Guo, M. L. Pekalski, D. J. Smyth, N. Cooper, O. S. Burren, A.J. Fulford, B. J. Hennig, A. M. Prentice, A. Ziegler, E.Bonifacio, Ch.Wallace, J. A. Todd. (2015) Widespread seasonal gene expression reveals annual differences in human immunity and physiology. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8000
 David C.Nieman, Laurel M.Wentz. (2018) The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system.Journal of Sport and Health Science, Volume 8, Issue 3, 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254618301005#!
 R. J. Simpson, J. P. Campbell, M. Gleeson, K. Krüger, D. C. Nieman, D. B. Pyne, J. E. Turner, N. P. Walsh. (2020) Can Exercise Affect Immune Function to Increase Susceptibility to Infection? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32139352/