The immune system is our body's line of defense against invading pathogens. However, since its strength relies on various systems throughout our body, it can be hard to know what to prioritize. With imaware's Immune Defense test, you get a broad glimpse into how your immune system is fairing and if it has weaknesses.
Fasting Glucose & HbA1c
Your blood sugar and insulin response can severely impact your immune system, which is why testing your fasting glucose and HbA1c are so important. The fasting glucose test measures your blood sugar (or glucose) level after you've fasted, and the HbA1c results are your average blood sugar over the last two to three months.1
Your results, whether within the normal, prediabetic or diabetic range, tell us how well insulin — a hormone produced by your pancreas that regulates blood sugar — is functioning in your body.2 If you have high blood sugar, you should understand how that can impact your immune system and talk to your healthcare provider about your risk of diabetes.
When you have high blood sugar, an immune response is inflammation. Over time, chronic inflammation will damage the pancreas and impair your ability to produce enough insulin, which leads to hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia then causes damage that severely hinders your immune system, ultimately making you more susceptible to pathogens and increasing your infection rate.3
Lowering your blood sugar
If you have high blood sugar, there are three significant lifestyle changes you can begin implementing to help manage it:4
- Exercise: Increase your physical activity to at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise.
- Foods: Try eating more fiber, lean proteins and low-starch vegetables.
- Weight: Losing a small amount of weight, even just five to seven percent of your body weight, can make a big difference in managing your blood sugar.
Try imaware’s Prediabetes / Diabetes Screening Test if you’re concerned about your risk.
The high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a biomarker used to check for chronic inflammation. Inflammation is integral to your immune response, as it reacts to various invaders and heals damaged tissue.5 Unfortunately, chronic inflammation causes cells to attack and damage your body even when there is no problem.
Chronic inflammation could be a sign of an autoimmune disorder, an untreated infection or part of a reaction to a severe health condition like cancer, heart disease, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.6
Though possible treatments for chronic inflammation vary depending on the root cause, some areas you may want to focus on include:
- Foods: Limit your consumption of processed foods like sugary drinks, packaged meats and cheeses, baked goods and fried foods. Eat more anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, leafy green vegetables, nuts, fish and beans.7
- Herbs and supplements: Studies suggest that certain micronutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, and zinc can help with inflammation.8910 Other anti-inflammatory products are turmeric11, ginger12, and omega-3 fatty acids.13
- Exercise: Moderate physical activity and resistance training can have an anti-inflammatory impact.1415
- Medications: Depending on your condition, your healthcare provider may recommend treatments like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids.16
25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as vitamin D, helps you maintain strong bones and muscles, healthy cardiovascular and cellular function and a solid immune system. Due to vitamin D's importance to the health of your immune cells, you have an increased risk of infection when you are vitamin D deficient.17
Getting more vitamin D
- Foods: Beef liver, certain mushrooms, fatty fish, fish oils, egg yolks and specially fortified products all contain varying amounts of vitamin D, though it is hard to get an adequate amount of vitamin D through foods alone.
- Sunshine: When your skin comes in direct contact with sunlight, your body can naturally synthesize vitamin D3. Sunlight is one of the most common ways to get vitamin D.
- Supplements: Given the difficulty of getting enough vitamin D from food and the importance of sun safety, vitamin D supplements are another popular way to reach a healthy vitamin D level.
If you want to keep an eye on your vitamin D levels, use our Vitamin D Monitoring Test.
Blood glucose, inflammation and vitamin D all play a part in assessing and strengthening your immune system. If you have high blood sugar, chronic inflammation or a vitamin D deficiency, consider how you can change your diet, physical activity or other daily habits to improve your results. If you have any serious concerns, please speak with your healthcare provider.