Coronavirus

Researchers: Stress, depression and nutrition can negatively affect response to vaccination

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Even before you get the COVID-19 vaccine, research shows you can do things now to get the best results.

Researchers out of the Ohio State University said when we think of vaccine efficacy, we often think of the vaccine itself, but we as recipients of a vaccine bring important factors into the mix and those are within our control.

The OSU researchers reviewed 49 vaccine studies from the past 30 years. They found that unhealthy nutrition choices, as well as stress and depression, can negatively affect the body’s immune response to vaccination. Comparatively, eating healthy bolsters our immune response.

Dr. John Christenson, the medical director of infection prevention for Riley Hospital for Children, tells News 8 obesity can also greatly reduce the efficacy of vaccines. So when we’re talking about vaccinating against a virus that’s greatest risk factor is obesity it’s even more important to focus on your health.

“There’s no magical food item that you can eat that would make your immune system work great overnight, okay? It has to be something that you have to put in play. You need to drink less sugary drinks, you need to eat less fatty foods, you need to exercise as much as you can,” Dr. Christenson said.

This is especially concerning to doctors because the pandemic has been marked by less exercise with gyms closed, more sitting, more snacking. So before it’s your turn to get the vaccine, doctors say it’s time to turn that around.

“They’re not going to the gym because the gym has been closed or there’s not enough openings for them to go. So their lifestyle has changed dramatically. Those individuals are greatly affected just like the person who has never exercised in their life,” Dr. Christenson said.

The research is being applied to the COVID-19 vaccine, but Dr. Christenson said poor health will effect how well any vaccines work from the flu and hepatitis B to rabies.

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