Silent epidemic sweeping through American retirees

20140424_head_down_iStock_000016076514_MediumOn Tuesday, I told you about one of the most frightening—and dangerous—aspects of aging. It’s called immunosenescence. And it’s the natural effect of aging on your immune system.

It slowly and quietly breaks down your immune defenses, impacting everything from your sleep to your energy to your strength. It also significantly increases your risk for any number of serious health threats.

And if you live in America, you’re especially vulnerable to it.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, there are three factors that research has shown make immunosenescence worse. And these three factors run absolutely rampant in this country.

First, you’ve got stress. It’s one of the few things all the experts actually agree on. Stress negatively impacts almost every aspect of your health. Your immune system is no exception. And to make matters worse, a study conducted a few years ago at Carnegie Mellon University showed that stress levels in the U.S. have increased by 30 percent in the past three decades.

Second, there’s poor diet. By now, you’re well aware of the dangers of the sugar- and processed-food- laden standard American diet…aptly nicknamed “SAD.” Most notably, SAD has led to a nationwide obesity epidemic. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 1 in 3 Americans currently qualify as obese.

But even if you’re not obese—or even overweight—your food choices directly affect your immunity. In fact, the immune-suppressing power of sugar is absolutely shocking.

Research shows that consuming 100 grams of sugar—the amount you get in roughly two cans of soda—weakens your immune system by 40 percent. This immune-suppressing effect takes hold within half an hour of consuming sugar. And it lingers for up to five hours afterwards. Eat or drink something else containing sugar within that window, and you start the whole cycle over again.

Essentially, if you consume sugar on a daily basis, your immune system is perpetually suppressed. Add the effects of immunosenescence, and you’re looking at critically impaired immune function.

And the third factor exacerbating immunosenescence in the U.S. is lack of exercise. Studies show regular physical activity is one of the best ways to stay healthy. But the CDC reports as many as 80% of Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of daily exercise. And unfortunately it’s wreaking even more havoc on your immune system.

So, obviously, the first steps to getting a handle on immunosenescence are:

1.)    Stress management. There are lots of great, effective ways to help cope with stress. Meditation is one great option. Yoga is another. (And as an added bonus, it also counts as physical activity. Two birds, one stone.)

2.)    Cut sugar (and packaged, processed carbs). If you haven’t already, now is the time. It’s a critical part of stopping immunosenescence. And it’s non-negotiable.

3.)    Get moving. Here it is again. That 15-minute, after-dinner walk I’m always urging you to take. It’s such a small part of your day, but the benefits it offers are truly staggering.

Once you’ve gotten these three factors under control, it’s time to tackle immunosenescence head-on. How? By directly supporting your immune defenses.

But let me make one thing absolutely clear: Supporting your immune system is NOT the same as boosting it. In fact, blindly boosting your immune system may be one of the worst things you can do.

Your immune system is made up of billons of cells. And they all need to be working in perfect harmony in order to keep you healthy. Blindly dumping “immune boosters” into the mix can tip this delicate balance dangerously off kilter. Plus, it doesn’t begin to cover the vast complexities of your immune system.

That’s one of the reasons I recommend AHCC. This unique mushroom extract helps regulate your immune function, rather than just stimulating it. But AHCC is also expensive. So it may not be the most practical choice for you as a daily supplement.

The good news is, there are other natural immune supporters that are equally effective—and more affordable.

This is critical information, and I want to make absolutely certain you have it at the ready. So I’ve been working on a special report on immunosenescence—and the best, research-proven ways to slam the breaks on this little-known threat to your health. I’m just putting the finishing touches on it, and I should have it ready for you this weekend. Be sure to check your email inbox Saturday so you don’t miss out on this vital information.

In the meantime, one of the best ways to support your immune system is to take a good, quality probiotic every day. Your gut flora produces more than 80 percent of your body’s immune cells. And probiotics help optimize that flora.

I recommend Dr. Ohirra’s. Take one in the morning an one in the evening, preferably on an empty stomach.