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Jul 14, 2022


Can stress affect your immune system?

We all get a bit stressed sometimes, and if this is something you’re feeling, then you’re certainly not alone. Stress is the body’s response to situations that make you feel overwhelmed and under pressure.

For most people, stress is something they’ll experience at some point in their lives. In fact, there are times when it can be helpful and motivating, challenging us to reach our goals1. Too much stress, however, isn’t healthy.

Stress can be the result of an external stressor, like an unexpected or a significant change. You could be struggling with everyday demands such as relationships, work or financial difficulties, for example. Stress can also be caused by internal stressors like low self-esteem and general anxieties and uncertainties.

Stress can leave you feeling anxious, scared, frustrated, and irritable2. And when it comes to the physical effects on your body, it can have quite an impact.

These are just some of the physical symptoms of stress, from headaches, dizziness and nausea to sleep problems and indigestion. More severe symptoms can include chest pains, panic attacks and sudden changes in your weight3

So, if stress can have such an impact on your body, can stress affect your immune system? The answer is yes.

How does stress affect the immune system?

Every individual is impacted by stress differently, and the immune system has several different reactions to it. But just how does stress affect the immune system? And can stress weaken the immune system?

If you experience a short, stressful event, the immune system responds by producing the types of cells and proteins that support your body in preparation for the challenge. You might recognise this as the ‘fight or flight’ stress response4.

Such a reaction can be helpful, allowing your immune system to provide the natural defences your body needs in the short-term. But how does stress affect your immune system in the long term?

Well, over a more extended period, stress interferes with your immune system's regular activity, affecting its ability to help support your health4.

Ways to help reduce stress:

Stress can really affect your daily life and both your physical and mental wellbeing. So if it’s something you’re experiencing, it’s important to find ways to manage it.

And we’re here to help. Here are our top tips to help you manage stress and pack your day with good vibes.

Take care of yourself physically

Taking care of your physical health can help to combat stress, whilst having a positive effect on your immune system at the same time.

Eating a varied and well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting the essential nutrients for your health, including vitamins B6 and D, which are known to support the immune system.

Getting enough sleep is also effective way to help reduce stress and support your immune system6.

Another effective way to help reduce stress and support your immune system is to get enough exercise, as this will help your body to produce more of the proteins and cells it needs to keep you healthy7.


This might seem obvious, and it’s often easier said than done, but taking time out for yourself is vital for dealing with stress.

Try going for a short walk in the fresh air or carving some time out during which you can focus on the things you enjoy8.

Plan your time

If you know that you’re going to have a lot of things going on at once, do your best to plan ahead. That way, you’ll be better able to manage your time effectively.

Remember, there are only so many hours in a day, and you’re only human. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others, and be clear about your boundaries. Doing so will go a long way to help you tackle stressful situations head-on and be ready for whatever life throws at you.

If you’re still struggling to manage your stress, seek support. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family, even if it’s just a quick chat to let someone know how you’re feeling. In addition, the NHS and Mind both have further advice on what to do and who to contact if you feel overwhelmed and need further support.


*Actimel Core, Plus, Dairy Free & 00 range contain Vitamins D and B6 to help support the normal function of the immune system. Actimel kids contains vitamin D to support the normal function of the immune system in children. **Actimel 0% Fat 0% Added Sugars : No added sugars, contains naturally occurring sugars. ***Except for Actimel Kids range. ****Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism. △RI: Reference intake of an average adult (8400 KJ/2000 Kcal) (as per Food Information Regulations). Enjoy as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.