8 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System Without Leaving Home

Feb 22, 2024 | Written by Alejandra Viviescas, PhD | Reviewed by Scott Sherr, MD and Marion Hall

8 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System Without Leaving Home

The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, and proteins that work together to protect you from harmful pathogens and keep abnormal changes in your body cells, such as cancer, in check. The immune system has two arms: the innate and adaptive immune systems [1].

The innate immune system provides broad protection against threats, while the adaptive immune system offers a more targeted defense against specific threats encountered by the body and becomes more effective over time.

When your immune system is not working properly, you become more vulnerable to harmful germs. You’ll even start noticing how your body doesn’t work as well as it normally does.

In our previous articles, we’ve discussed supplements that can help boost your immune system and lifestyle practices you can adopt to enhance your immune system. Adding onto that, we’ll be discussing 8 ways to strengthen your immune system without leaving your home!

1. Move your body

First, let’s clarify the difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity refers to any movement carried out by the muscles. Exercise is a type of physical activity aimed at improving or maintaining physical fitness [2].

Regular physical activity is associated with an increase in the levels of the cells that coordinate the adaptative immune response (called CD4 cells) and the cells in charge of killing infected or cancer cells (called natural killer cells) [3].

Physical activity also leads to an increase in salivary immunoglobulin IgA. These antibodies serve as the first line of defense that protects the body from parasites that come in contact with the mouth mucosa [4].

While physical activity is beneficial for your health, it's crucial not to overdo it. Intense exercise sessions lasting more than 90 minutes without adequate rest can disrupt your immune system and make you more prone to illness [5].

2. Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for both your physical and mental health. When you're asleep, your body's repair processes, including those that boost your immune system, operate more efficiently.

Maintaining regular sleep-wake cycles enhances the process by which the adaptative immune system remembers pathogens that have infected the body and mounts a faster, more effective response upon subsequent exposures, a process called immunological memory. This cyclical pattern is especially pronounced during non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep [6].

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases stress hormones [7] that foster a chronic inflammatory state. This state disrupts both the innate and adaptive immune responses and makes you more susceptible to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, among others [8].

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3. Stay hydrated

Not drinking enough water is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic disease and dying prematurely. This probably happens because poor hydration accelerates the aging process, which in turn impacts the immune system’s integrity [9]. In other words, drinking plenty of water might slow down your aging process thus increasing your immune function.

A recent study showed a link between inadequate water intake for long periods and increased risk of COVID-19 infection, as well as poorer disease outcomes [10]. This likely happens because dehydrated cells express higher levels of a receptor called ACE2 that the virus uses to enter the cell and trigger infection.

4. Manage your stress levels

Stress isn’t bad on its own. Short-term stress responses trigger a temporary inflammatory stage that enhances the innate immune system and prepares the body to face immediate threats, [11,12].

However, long-term stress can lead to chronic inflammation and weaken the immune system by reducing the production of antibodies and decreasing the number of various immune cells involved in the adaptive immune response [11,13].

Practicing deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help you manage your stress levels and prevent chronic stress [14].

Tro Calm, our relaxation troche, can also help you de-stress by inducing a state of calm that will clear your mind and help you unwind!

5. Focus on a balanced diet

A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients — including certain amino acids, cholesterol, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals — is vital for the proper functioning and regulation of the immune system [15,16].

Adequate levels of amino acids L-arginine and L-tryptophan are linked to a better ability to fight cancer cells and optimal macrophage activation. Macrophages are cells that clear the body of pathogens and cellular debris. [15,16]. Turkey, chicken, and pork are excellent sources of L-arginine and L-tryptophan.

Vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A and zinc, play a key role in boosting your immune system. They influence various processes, including how quickly you produce antibodies [17]. Vitamin A sources include animal livers, fish, dairy, and colorful vegetables, while zinc is found in red meat, poultry, shellfish, legumes, nuts, and grains.

6. Don’t forget your gut health

The gut microbiota, which consists of trillions of microbes, constantly communicates with your immune cells. This intricate communication is vital for optimal immune function [18]. Adding prebiotics and probiotics to your diet is a great way to keep a healthy gut microbiota, although it is better to test your GI health, if possible, either through metabolomic data or a stool profile [19].

Consuming prebiotics can increase the integrity of the intestinal lining, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens that enter the gut [18]. Foods rich in prebiotics include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Consumed probiotics stimulate the production of cytokines and chemokines, which are signaling molecules that modulate both the innate and adaptive immune systems. They also increase the resistance of the intestinal mucosa to pathogens [20]. Dairy and fermented foods are rich in probiotics as well.

7. Supplement wisely

As mentioned, the immune system needs an abundance of specific nutrients to function properly. Ideally, you should get these nutrients from your diet but due to profound food quality and nutrient density declines over the last 50 years, it is not an easy task. With appropriate supervision from a physician, immune-enhancing supplements may also boost your protection.

Folate supplementation has been associated with an increase in the number of T cells, which play a crucial role in orchestrating and executing the adaptive immune response [21]. Supplementation with vitamin D helps regulate immune cells' life cycle, such as T and B cells [22]. Selenium supplementation leads to an increased number of T cells and increased activation of natural killer cells [23].

8. Limit alcohol and avoid smoking

Staying healthy also involves avoiding habits that can weaken your immune system, such as excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

Cigarette smoke can disrupt the balance of the immune system, affecting both innate and adaptive immunity. This imbalance makes you more vulnerable to various diseases [24]. Additionally, smoking, particularly cigarettes, leads to chronic inflammation, which in turn dysregulates the immune system.

Regular and excessive alcohol consumption leads to a reduction in T cell numbers and hampers their ability to function properly. This makes the body more vulnerable to infectious diseases, reduces the effectiveness of vaccines, and increases the risk of cancer [25].


In this article, we explored 8 things you can do to boost your immune system without leaving your house. Integrating one or more of these practices into your daily routine can enhance not just your immune function but your overall health and well-being.

Whether you focus on nutritional adjustments, managing stress, staying hydrated, ensuring adequate sleep, or engaging in regular physical activity, each step is a positive move toward a stronger, more resilient immune system.

If you're looking for a way to boost your immune system, check out Tro Mune, our health optimization troche for immune support that will swap your endless colds and constant inflammation for an immune shield of unmatched power and resilience!



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