There are multiple ways we can arm ourselves against viruses in the coming winter season. We can eat healthy foods, exercise, get more sleep, minimize stress, avoid excess alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight.
There’s also another, less appreciated, yet fun form of protection you can take advantage of, and it won’t cost you a penny.
It’s been almost three years since the pandemic began so it should be engrained in us by now to wash our hands frequently and avoid touching our face.
Yet regardless of what precautions are taken there’s no avoiding the fact that the immune system starts to weaken beyond the age of 60. That’s why people over the age of 70 are at greatest risk of dying from influenza and COVID.
However, all is not lost. By making healthy dietary and lifestyle choices and taking supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc, you can boost your immune system no matter what your age. Another way to strengthen your natural defense against illnesses?
Engage in regular sexual activity…
Boosts IgA By 30 Percent
Back in 1999, Professor Carl Charnetski, from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, enrolled 112 college students aged 16 to 23 in a study on sexual activity and the immune system. Prof. Charnetski divided them into four categories according to the number of sexual encounters they had each week during the previous month. The categories were none, less than one, one or two times, or three or more.
Saliva samples were taken to measure levels of the antigen, immunoglobulin A (IgA), our first line defender against colds and flu.
Individuals engaging in sexual activity once or twice a week showed significant 30 percent higher levels of IgA than the other three groups. The reason, the professor believes, is that sexual activity exposes those who take part to more infectious agents, priming the immune system to produce more IgA.
Interestingly, those in the highest sexual encounter group had lower IgA than abstainers, suggesting you can have too much of a good thing.
Prof. Charnetski speculated that overindulging could reflect “obsessive or poor relationships that are causing them a lot of anxiety. We know that stress and anxiety make IgA go down.”
A recent study demonstrated orgasms clear a common symptom of colds and flu.
As Good as a Decongestant Spray
Clearing a stuffy nose by engaging in sex was a practice proposed in 2008, but its effectiveness hadn’t been put to the test until last year. That’s when researchers from Germany enrolled 18 healthcare workers and their partners in a study.
The participants used a portable device to measure air flow just before sexual activity, immediately after sexual climax, and then again 30 minutes, one hour and three hours after climax.
The researchers found that participants with pre-existing nasal congestion had a significant improvement in nasal flow that was of similar magnitude to a decongestant spray. The bad news is that the benefit only lasted an hour before waning, with nasal breathing returning to its previous state of stuffiness three hours following intercourse.
The researchers believe this respiratory benefit comes about because of a rush of adrenaline that happens with climax which then shrinks the soft nasal tissues that contain a lot of blood vessels. This opens the airways, making it easier to breathe.
Sex can also protect against COVID.
More Sex Equals Less COVID
Researchers performed an online survey of 16,000 COVID-positive adults in 33 countries. They put the participants into two groups depending on whether they had sex more or less than three times a month.
The researchers found that sexual activity was protective, saying, “As one’s sexual activity increased, the immunity status becomes more competent to deal with pathogens, and this explains lower incidence of disease among those who have sex greater than three times a month in comparison with those who have sex less than three times a month.”
Improving immune health is only one of the many benefits of engaging in regular sex.
Overall Health Improves
Kaye Wellings, a professor of sexual and reproductive health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, explained, saying, “Granted ‘improving your health’ is not usually at the top of your mind when you’re thinking about sex, but immunity, cardiovascular health and depression are just some of the areas where studies suggest that sexual activity might have a benefit.”
She stressed, however, that while it’s “likely to be important, I don’t want people thinking that because they don’t have sex that often, or don’t have a partner to have sexual activity with, they’re going to end up sick.
“Many of the benefits of sexual activity can be gained in nonsexual ways, including exercise or hugging friends and family.”