If one or both of your parents have a low immune system it could have a negative impact on your immunity, however, there are other things to consider too. According to many leading experts the environment you grow up in has a much bigger impact on your immunity than your genes.
Innate and adaptive
Your body has both innate and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity is present from birth whereas adaptive immunity involves your body learning how to deal with certain types of bacteria and viruses so that it knows what to do next time you come under attack by the same strain.
The role of genetics
In 2014, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine decided to look at the role genetics plays in immune system health by studying the immunity of both identical and non-identical twins.
The author of the study, Mark Davis, revealed his findings to science writer Bruce Goldman, saying: “Nonheritable influences, particularly microbes, seem to play a huge role in driving immune variation. At least for the first 20 or so years of your life, when your immune system is maturing, this amazing system appears able to adapt to wildly different environmental conditions. A healthy human immune system continually adapts to its encounters with hostile pathogens, friendly gut microbes, nutritional components and more, overshadowing the influences of most heritable factors.”
A separate study of twins by the King’s College London and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2015, highlighted the part genetics has to play in our ability to fight off diseases and that for some people their genetic makeup can make them more prone to autoimmune diseases.
Boosting your immune system
If you feel that you have low immunity, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to help your immune system perform better. You could try to improve your general fitness and wellbeing by exercising regularly, getting enough rest and eating the right kind of foods. You may also benefit from taking vitamin supplements or going to see your GP for tailored advice.
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