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Viruses See Men as Weaker, but Women Get More Autoimmune Diseases and Allergies

Scientists are just beginning to discover an evolutionary basis for the way sex hormones work in your body to protect you — or not — from infection and disease. In a new study reported by Stuff, researchers found that men are harder hit by diseases that may kill them, while women are more likely to get allergies and other autoimmune diseases. They attributed this to differences in the way male and female hormones work in the body, noting that “immunity and sex are far more intricately involved in the different responses of males and females” than we realize.

With flu season just around the corner, this may be a good time to talk about ways to improve your natural immunity, no matter your gender. This means taking advantage of what you have now — the summer sun — to build your vitamin D before cold weather comes. Mounting research suggests vitamin D deficiency may actually be a major cause of influenza, and scientific review confirms vitamin D optimization boosts immunity and cuts rates of cold and flu.

Besides its flu-fighting benefits, sensible sun exposure has many health benefits as a result of vitamin D production, which occurs when your skin is exposed to UV light. In fact, recent research shows both blue light and UVA light boosts the activity of T lymphocytes. As little as five to 10 minutes of sun exposure was needed to boost immune cell activity.

Other health benefits of sunlight unrelated to vitamin D include lowering high blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease, lowering your risk of cancer, combating damage incurred by disease-causing inflammation and boosting brain serotonin and improving your mood and mental health.
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