Trying to boost your immune function? Consider your brain balance and your handedness!
In a review titled "Brain asymmetry, immunity, [and] handedness," the topic of neuroimmunomodulation was covered, which basically refers to the modulation of the immune system by the brain. Sound simple? It's incredibly complex.
The reviewers found that brain asymmetry (the chemical, anatomical, and other differences in the two halves of your brain) were one determining factor in how well your immune system functions and how balanced it is.
For instance, the Left Frontal Region:
- can increase secretory IgA (antibody that helps your immune system identify invaders)
- boosts natural killer cell activity (needed to fight infections)
- boosts the spleen and thymus
- increases T cells in the spleen
- increases spleen lymphocyte responses
- overall appears to enhance immune response/reactivity
While the Right Hemisphere:
- appears to be more immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory (it helps calm the immune response down)
Now, your dominant hand comes into play here as well. Handedness is intimately linked to brain hemisphere function and has also appears to impact immune function as well! In this review, the authors commented that the "incidence of diseases associated with disorders in the immune system is two and a half times higher in left-handers than right-handers" linked to some of the points listed above. The specific diseases they found associations with were: ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, coeliacia, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thyrotoxicosis, diabetes, migraine, myasthenia gravis, and rheumatoid arthritis!
Not only that, but some studies reviewed indicate that "left-handedness is related to proneness to psychological distress" and an increased incidence of depression, anxiety, and susceptibility to mental stress.
But don't stress about this! Your handedness is not your destiny. If you are trying to improve your immune function overall and this seems like one approach you'd like to take, you can incorporate activities into your day that boost one or both hemispheres of your brain, and so may impact your immune system as well.
For boosting the left hemisphere, try activities that are language-oriented, analytical, involve reading and writing, are logic-based or mathematical, or involve linear thinking.
For boosting your right hemisphere think of artsy activities such as...the arts, daydreaming, dance, and being imaginative.
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Want to read the article itself? Look up: Stoyanov, Z., Decheva, L., Pashalieva, I., & Nikolova, P. (2011). Brain asymmetry, immunity, handedness. De Gruyter, 7(1). https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/med/7/1/article-p1.xml