Immune system boosting
Immune system boosting or boosts your immune system are common slogans on many alternative medicine products. Scientifically, this term is nonsensical even if they did tell you how and what would get boosted. There has yet to be any reputable study that shows you can supercharge your immune system. In marketing this is called puffery, a subjective statement that's so general and exaggerated it's nearly meaningless in any real terms. Consumers generally see this as dishonest, even in areas that are known to be minefields like used car lots, while it's part of the bullshit that makes people pick up supplements to the tune of $37 billion annually just in the US.
In fact the entire immune system is a complex group of elements that works very well when it's in balance and produces debilitating diseases when it is not. Unless you are deficient in the vitamins and minerals needed to produce these cells there's not a lot you can do to make it more efficient or shoot it into overdrive. There are things that science has found which will suppress your immune system:
- Chronic stress
- Lack of exercise
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
- Diet high in the stuff that tastes great but is unhealthy like bacon
- Drinking to excess
- Lack of sleep
- Old age
Generally the things needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Overactive immune system
Overactive immune systems are at best a waste of resources. Unneeded immune cells activate a self destruct mechanism and get flushed from your system.
Overactive immune systems will often overreact to outside pathogens or start attacking your own body. Overactive immune reactions at best can cause allergies to food or the environment that can even be fatal. The immune system can start confusing your own body for an invader which can cause:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Graves' disease
- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- Myasthenia gravis
- Chronic inflammation — a precursor to cancer
- Rheumatic fever
- Goodpasture's syndrome
- Celiac disease — you don't want to have to go gluten-free, do you?
- Giant-cell arteritis
- Sjögren's syndrome
This is an abridged list of the common ailments overactive immune systems can cause. These supplement manufacturers are touting a meaningless term to get consumers to buy a product that is a waste of money which if it actually worked as intended might possibly kill buyers in a horrible fashion. This might be one instance where supplements not working as intended is for the best.
- See the Wikipedia article on Puffery.
- [www.bullshitguru.com/?tag=boost-your-immune-system Bullshit Guru — Immune Boosting]
- Reddit references why these claims are bullshit and discussion
- US Supplement Industry is a $37 billion Industry in the US
- Harvard Review — How to Boost Your Immune System
- See the Wikipedia article on Allergies.
- WebMD Autoimmune Diseases