Using Your Nervous System to Enhance Your Immune System

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This episode teaches you a lot about the immune system, immune-brain interactions and offers 12 potential tools for enhancing immune system function. Dr. Huberman discusses how our immune system works and science-supported tools we can use to enhance our immune system.

He discusses the innate and adaptive immune systems and our various microbiomes—not just in our gut but also in our nose, eyes and mouth and how to keep them healthy. And he reviews how specific patterns of breathing and foods maintain a healthy mucosal barrier that is crucial for fighting infections. Dr. Huberman discusses how certain neurochemicals called catecholamines enhance our immune system function and how to use specific breathing protocols, types and timing of heat and cold exposure, and if appropriate, supplementation to activate catecholamines. He also discusses the role and use of serotonin for the sake of accessing the specific types of sleep for recovering from illness, and he discusses how to increase glymphatic “washout” of brain debris during sleep. Dr. Huberman also reviews fever, the vagus nerve and the use of atypical yet highly effective compounds for rhinitis (nasal inflammation).


  • 00:00:00 The Mind & Immune System, New Findings: Acupuncture & Fascia
  • 00:03:00 Sponsors: ROKA, Athletic Greens, InsideTracker
  • 00:07:41 Foundational Tools & Practices for of a Healthy Immune System
  • 00:11:20 Immune System Basics: Skin/Mucous, Innate & Adaptive Immune System
  • 00:17:08 Killer Cells, Complement Proteins (“Eat Me!” Signals), Cytokines (“Help Me!” Signals)
  • 00:21:06 The Adaptive Immune System: Antibodies
  • 00:28:00 Tool 1: Nasal Microbiome and “Scrubbing” Bacteria & Viruses; Nasal Breathing
  • 00:30:33 Tools 2 & 3: (Not) Touching Your Eyes; Gut Microbiome & Fermented Foods
  • 00:34:20 Some Interleukins Are Anti-Inflammatory
  • 00:34:56 Sickness Behavior
  • 00:39:08 Some People Seek Care When Sick, Others Want to be Alone
  • 00:42:00 Sickness Behavior & Depression: Cytokines
  • 00:43:40 Reduced Appetites When Sick: Protein, Iron, Libido
  • 00:46:45 Vagus-Nerve Stimulation: Fever, Photophobia, Sleepiness
  • 00:53:03 Humoral (Blood-Borne) Factors, & Choroid Change Your Brain State
  • 00:55:04 Tools 4, 5: Reducing Sickness: Glymphatic Clearance, Pre-Sleep Serotonin, 5HTP
  • 01:07:03 Tool 6: Hot Showers, Saunas, Baths & Cortisol, Heath-Cold Contrast
  • 01:10:53 Feed a Fever & Starve a Cold (?), Adrenaline
  • 01:12:36 Tool 7: Activating Your Immune System w/Cyclic-Hyperventilation, Alkalinity
  • 01:29:10 Brain Chemicals & Cyclic-Hyperventilation; Catecholamines, Dopamine
  • 01:32:10 Mindsets & Immune Function; Yes, You Can Worry Yourself Sick
  • 01:37:00 Tool 8: Healthy Mindsets, Hope, Dopamine; Tool 9: Tyrosine; Tool 10: Cold Exposure
  • 01:42:05 Once You’re Already Sick: Accelerating Recovery; Tool 11: Spirulina, Rhinitis
  • 01:46:09 Histamines, Mast Cells
  • 01:49:22 Tool 12: Acupuncture: Mechanism for How It Reduces Inflammation; Fascia, Rolfing
  • 01:53:40 Mechanistic Science & Ancient Practices
  • 01:58:00 Synthesis, Ways to Support Us (Zero-Cost), Sponsors, Supplements, Social Media