4 easy ways to boost your flu vaccine's efficacy

The flu vaccine works by introducing your immune system to the flu virus so that it can develop an antibody response more quickly when the real thing appears. These tips can supercharge your immune system so that the vaccine works even more effectively.

4 easy ways to boost your flu vaccine's efficacy

1. Meditate

  • Researchers from the University of Wisconsin found that people who regularly meditate show significant changes in areas of the brain related to adapting to negative or stressful events. They also found that these individuals have stronger responses to the flu vaccine than people who don't exhibit these brain changes.
  • Meditation classes are available at community hospitals and recreation centers, or you can check with an alternative healthcare provider.

2. Go green with algae

  • A Canadian study published in one of the country's most prestigious journals found that compared to a placebo, green algae supplements significantly boosted immune response to the flu vaccine in people aged 50 to 55.
  • Take 400 milligrams a day for three weeks before your vaccination, then continue this dosage for another week afterwards.

3. Take a brisk walk just before your vaccination

  • A study of healthy young adults found that women show a stronger immune response to the vaccine if they engage in a brief bout of exercise or a stressful mental activity prior to getting the shot.
  • Brief periods of exercise or mental activity provide acute stress, "turning on" the immune system and causing it to respond better to the "challenge" that the vaccine provides.
  • Even though this study was conducted in young people, the results may also apply to older people, so give it a try!

4. Spend some time with friends

You can add one more item to the long list of health benefits that socializing provides. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that lonely first-year students had weaker immune responses to flu shots than students with more friends.

These 4 methods for boosting the flu vaccine's effectiveness also hold a host of other benefits. So no matter which tips you use, you can be happy in the fact that you're improving your mental and physical health while you fight the flu.

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