‘Fall in Love’ to enhance your ‘Immunity’

Can’t get him or her out of your thoughts! Just want to see him around!  Daydreaming about that one person! It’s nothing but the beginning of love.

Love, the most amazing thing in the world, a feeling that goes beyond any selfishness. It changes everything in seconds. You start loving yourself; you look more beautiful, feel good, always in a happy mood, loving food and many more. But why it happens? If I say in scientific terms, it’s all our immunity involved. Yes our immune system. Scientists have established this idea many years ago that our health is directly affected by what goes in our mind or our emotions. Our brain and immune system plays a very important role in defining our health status. What we think directly impact our immune system. According to Dr. Esther Sternberg, an expert on neural-immune science, our emotions and thinking are the immense forces that affect our nerve chemicals (oxytocin, dopamine, testosterone, estrogen) and our immune responses thus directly affecting our health and resistance to diseases. So if you are in love, you are indirectly boosting your immune system against infection and diseases, thus enjoying a healthy mind and body.

A group of scientists from University of California recently published their findings in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology. According to the study; falling in love is accompanied not only by psychological changes such as feeling good, optimistic, loving yourself and the world around etc but also with physiological changes as well, which include our immune system. A total of 47 women aging around 20 years participated in the research, which included timely blood collection and weekly questionnaires to answer their specific life events. Depending upon their relationship timeline, women participated in the study for up to 2 years. The blood collected was then further used for DNA microarray analysis. Scientists use Microarray analysis, a biological technique to measure the expression levels of large number of genes.  And what they found was really interesting. Women who fell in love had increased activity of genes involved in antiviral defenses (type I interferon response genes) as compare to the women who were not in love, thus suggesting a major link between emotions and immunity. So here we got the answer why everything is beautiful in love because the immune system is activated.

What is immune System?

Our immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that invade body systems and cause disease. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. Our immune system is very essential for our survival. Without it our body would be open to attack from pathogens.

Source: balticessentials.com

What are Interferons?

Interferons are a group of proteins made and released by cells in response to any infection by several viruses. A virus-infected cell will release interferons causing nearby cells to increase their anti-viral defense mechanism. Type I interferons mentioned above are a large subgroup of interferon proteins that help regulate the activity of the immune system and help it to find against infection thus keeping us healthy.

Kavita Rawat

Kavita Rawat is a Senior Research Fellow (SRF) at Department of Zoology, University of Delhi, her research focus is Cell signalling and Molecular immunology.

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2 comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    its so nice to read this kind of articles. narration was very good for delivering the science to people.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Well written article on a very emerging area of pyschological neuroscience. Although the concept has been not well studied and needs further studies to fully understand the subject. I would argue that its not the emotional or pyschological factor that is affecting in higher immunity. It is the neurochemical changes associated with the emotional feeling ‘love’ or ‘affection’ that trigers the immune responses. The neurotransmitters such as Dopamine, Seratonin and Oxytocin along with sex hormones partly plays a role in modulation of the neuro-inflammatory pathways and also the peripheral immunity as well. Thus, not just love, other factors like excercise, diet (rich in tryptophan) or ‘just being happy’ can also similarly affect your immune system. Love is over-rated here in this sense.

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