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10th Jan 2023

Brits taking ice baths and even trying ‘colonic irrigation’ to maintain healthy immune system

Jack Peat

Other popular immunity hacks include having more sex and listening to uplifting music

Brits have revealed the lengths they go to to maintain a healthy immune system – including taking ice baths, acupuncture, and colonic irrigation.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 34 per cent employ such tactics in the hope of building up their natural defences – with 37 per cent taking this ‘more seriously’ over the past two years.

Other popular immunity hacks include having more sex, listening to uplifting music, taking vitamin D, fasting, and gargling salt water.

And nearly one in 20 (four per cent) have even tried colonic irrigation – the practice of injecting water via the anus to flush out toxins from the colon.

It also emerged 27 per cent are open to trying more ‘extreme’ steps to improve immunity, such as having IV vitamin infusions, but 52 per cent aren’t convinced ‘alternative’ methods like these work.

Instead, 70 per cent believe adopting little daily habits could be a more sustainable and effective way to support their immune system.

Movement and Vitamin D

The research, commissioned by Actimel, also found 40 per cent are eager to find tactics to support their immune system that they’re likely to stick to.

Immunologist, Dr Jenna Macciochi, who has teamed-up with the yoghurt drink, said: “Movement and adding more Vitamin D to your diet are two key ways to support the immune system.

“They are also arguably two of the easiest and most accessible methods for promoting this aspect of our health.

“While it’s encouraging to see such a large proportion of those polled actively wanting to adopt steps to support their immune system, they might be going to greater lengths than they need to.

“I am a firm believer of adopting little daily habits when it comes to sustainable solutions for supporting your immune system.”

The study also found 32 per cent of adults have been so keen to support their immune system, they’ve made a New Year’s resolution to do just that.

However, 43 per cent only managed to stick to it for three to four weeks.

New Year’s resolutions

The top reasons for ending their pledge early are lack of motivation (50 per cent), it not fitting with existing routines (44 per cent), and it being unsustainable (32 per cent).

However, this year, 86 per cent intend to pursue at least one activity or tactic with the aim of promoting a healthy immune system.

And 54 per cent believe they will be more successful if they find a method which doesn’t involve overhauling their entire lifestyle and fits within existing routines.

Carried out through OnePoll, the study found 52 per cent of adults consider their immune system to be strong.

However, 28 per cent ‘lack knowledge’ when it comes to supporting it, with 50 per cent wanting to learn more about this subject.

Dr Jenna Macciochi, from Actimel [], added: “Interest in the immune system among the general public has increased in recent years.

“But it’s important to know that we don’t need to go to extreme lengths to support this aspect of our health.

“Movement, eating well, ensuring you get the right vitamins and consuming nutritious foods/drinks can be all that’s needed.

“The little things that we do daily can make the biggest difference.”

Top 20 most common ways people have tried to support the immune system: 

1. Have more water

2. Taken Vitamin D

3. Exercised regularly

4. Eaten a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables

5. Taken oral vitamin supplements

6. Tried to get more sleep at night

7. Upped their step count

8. Have lemon water

9. Eaten fortified foods

10. Intermittent fasting

11. Gargled salt water

12. Had more sex

13. Taken cold showers

14. Veganuary

15. Gone on wellbeing retreats

16. Purposefully mixed with sick people to build antibodies

17. Taken ice baths

18. Tried acupuncture

19. Wild swimming

20. Tried osteopathy

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