90 years pioneering the science of longevity and immunity

The immune system has been on everyone’s mind in the past few months. It is much more than a single system that can be measured, it’s an intricate network of tissues, organs, cells, and molecular activities. Helping your immune system or boosting it mean to approach the many different components that interact with each other to accomplish their essential function to keep you strong and healthy.

Exploring how our body can empower us to live a longer, healthier and better life is at the core of Clinique La Prairie since 1931.

Dr Niehans established Clinique La Prairie for his patients to experience his revolutionary cellular ‘Revitalisation’ program, whose principles continue to be at the heart of the clinic’s work, standing the test of time.

For almost 90 years, we have been dedicated to preventative medicine combined with a holistic healthy living.

Take a look at the science behind immunity with us.


How to boost your immune system - Dr. Adrian Heini

A key mission to our health


Thanks to our immune system, we cannot fall ill from a disease that we have already had, or against which we have been vaccinated. it can be empowered by its adaptive mechanisms to reinforce its capacity of response to future threats. This ability is due to the fact that the immune system keeps track of the pathogens or malignant cells it has fought, which allows it to recognize and protect itself from them. Without immune protection, a simple scratch would be potentially fatal.

The threats are never-ending: bacteria, viruses, parasites, cuts, burns, dust, pollen and other allergens, chemical particles, heavy metals, etc. All of these pathogens are identified by our immune system as foreign to the body and therefore need to be eliminated. Part of this system is innate; from our birth, we have immune cells that constantly patrol the blood and immediately react to an alert. The other is said to be acquired, because it develops adaptively by exposure to all kinds of pathogens. It operates on the second line and more specifically. In fact, our immune system is very much structured and its lines intervene in a well-established order to accomplish their respective missions.


Well-functioning defense system


The skin, mucous membranes, lungs and urinary tract form the first barrier against attack. Sweat and tears, typically, have an elimination function. Likewise, our nasal walls are lined with tiny, vibrating cilia whose wave-like motion constantly pushes out unwanted microparticles. If this is not enough to prevent infection, a second line of defense is put in place. White blood cells, capable of engulfing microbes, move to the site of the assault and quickly send chemical signals to their rearguard to call for reinforcement.


The inflammatory response


This reaction is part of a process called an inflammatory response; it corresponds to the widening of the blood vessels, which is necessary to facilitate the massive arrival of the fighting cells. It is therefore a transient and completely normal phenomenon, even if it is accompanied by signals which may appear worrying (heat, redness, swelling and pain).

The white blood cells that arrive first are part of the innate immune system and have therefore never before been exposed to pathogens. As a result, they are not very good at distinguishing the enemy and tend to aim wide. Surgical strikes are entrusted to white blood cells belonging to the acquired immune system, B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. The B lymphocytes produce antibodies, that is to say proteins capable of pinpointing the enemy precisely in order to destroy it. T lymphocytes are responsible for cleaning the place by destroying infected cells without reaching nearby healthy cells.

Once their work is completed, a good number of the lymphocytes die, but those who survive keep a memory of their attacker, a precious faculty that science exploits for the development of vaccines.


Sufficient sleep is vital to be more resistant


This relentless fight against infectious agents is sometimes unbalanced, especially in periods of insomnia, fatigue or stress. It is well known that a good rest is essential for the proper functioning of the body. The different phases of sleep help the body to recharge its batteries, process and then store the information recorded throughout the day and somehow restore our memory. In addition, while we sleep, our body produces hormones that have a supporting effect on the immune system.

When our nights do not allow us to recover properly, our body is weakened, which predisposes it to infections. Moreover, there is sometimes a negative impact on weight, since sleep deficit tends to stimulate the secretion of the appetite-inducing hormone (called ghrelin), while inhibiting the satiety hormone (leptin). Chronic insomnia, persistent fatigue, scarring problems and/or recurrent infections (colds, cystitis, etc.) are signs likely to be linked to a weakening of the immune defenses and should therefore not be taken lightly.  Preserving your immune system is of even greater importance as you grow older, as aging is naturally accompanied by a decrease in the performance of the body's defense mechanisms against pathogens.


Proteins aid in producing cells and enzymes which fight aggressions


What you eat affects how long you live and the way you feel every day. When discussing the immune system, we mustn’t forget to include protein-rich meals, as they are essential to strong immunity.  Proteins not only counteract lean muscle loss but also contain high amounts of zinc, which aids in production of white blood cells and enzymes which fight against aggressive microbes and infections. The best protein sources are vegan (nuts, seeds and pulses) and they are also excellent for minerals and vitamins. 


Food, vitamins and probiotics are your best allies


Nutrition is your primary protector. A diet rich in seasonal fruits and vegetables helps strengthen our immune system, while reducing the oxidative stress generated by the elimination of pathogens.  Apart from Vitamin C which is of course key for the immune system, Vitamin E and Beta-carotene are also essential as antioxidant. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with worsening autoimmune diseases. If you are not able to get enough sunlight, you should ask for advice regarding D3 dosage.  But also, the probiotics naturally present in fermented milks (e.g. yogurts, white cheeses) and available in the form of food supplements are precious allies. Their consumption helps fight the proliferation of unwanted germs in the intestine.  Saving your digestive system therefore boosts your immune system. In fact, an increasing number of studies have established a link between a diverse microbiota and an optimal functioning of our immune defenses.



Keeping physically active and emotionally balanced is a vital factor


Many epidemiological studies show that it is possible to promote the proper functioning of our immune system by taking care of our body, by eating a healthy and balanced diet, by practicing an adapted physical activity, by limiting stressful situations, and more. When your body is stressed, it lowers your immunity and can make you feel tired, sick, sleepless and anxious. Meditation, yoga, Qi gong and self-reflection are a great way to keep your stress under control. Also, regular and sustained exercise has a multitude of benefits including decreasing inflammation and improving immune regulation (physicians recommend to avoid high intensity exercises if you have low immunity though).


You should cherish your immunity all year long

It is obviously desirable to have good immunity at all times. But everyone goes through delicate periods of heavy physical, nervous or intellectual solicitation. This increased immune stress often coincides with the start of a new season (influenza in winter, spring allergies, summer skin rash, ...), but it can happen at any time of the year, depending on life events and of course on unique health situation like the Covid-19. It is important to have a year-long mindful approach to sustain your body with preventative efforts to alert the immune system for the time of contact with pathogens.

A holistic approach under medical supervision


Although it is possible to preserve your immune system through a healthy lifestyle, trying to intensify it without medical supervision is not recommended. The immune system features many different components : helping one component might impair another, or boosting a certain one may have nothing to do with your needs.

The techniques and therapies are the result of numerous years of scientific research in our experts’ fields of specialization.

At Clinique La Prairie, we believe in a preventive approach that integrates the following four aspects: medical, nutritional, physical activity and well-being. Our programs are therefore based on a conception of preventive medicine in the broadest sense of the term and which takes into account the most recent information in the field of immunity. We offer you a comprehensive medical check-up with, among other things, a detailed history, laboratory analyses, medical imaging examinations and predictive genetic tests. This holistic approach allows us to provide you with personalized recommendations to help you live long and healthy lives.



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