Health & Fitness Science

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger: Not Always True

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger: Not Always True

We’ve all heard the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But when it comes to diseases and infections, this saying may not always hold true. In fact, surviving an illness can sometimes leave us weaker instead of stronger. To understand this, it’s helpful to think of our body as a country under attack during an infection.

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The Human Body as a Country Under Attack

Just like a country has an army to defend itself against enemies, our body has an immune system to protect us from invading microorganisms. When our cells detect something is off, they release cytokines, which are like air raid sirens that activate immune cells and amplify the alarm.

This immune response is intense and draining, causing us to feel tired, lose our appetite, and become more sensitive to pain. Our body reallocates its resources towards the immune response, which demands huge amounts of energy, amino acids, and micro-elements to build its weapons.

How does your immune system work?

In the face of an infection, our body becomes a country under attack, switching into a war economy. Just like war is expensive for a country, the immune response can be draining and damaging to our body, especially if our immune system is already weakened. But there is hope, as we can train our immune system to be better prepared for future invasions.

The Immune Response

When our body detects an infection, it launches an immune response to protect itself. This immune response is complex and involves many different components, each with its own role to play. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the immune response and its effects on the body.

A. Cytokine Release and Activation of Immune Cells

The first step in the immune response is the release of cytokines, which are signal proteins that alert the body to the presence of an infection. These cytokines activate immune cells, which then release even more cytokines, amplifying the alarm and triggering a full-scale response. This response is designed to protect the body from the invading microorganisms and prevent them from causing harm.

B. The Effects of the Immune Response on the Body

The immune response has a number of effects on the body, some of which are beneficial and others that can be harmful. Here are a few of the key effects:

  1. Decreased Energy Levels and Increased Sensitivity to Pain

One of the first things you may notice when you’re sick is a drop in energy levels and an increased sensitivity to pain. This is because your body is reallocating its resources towards the immune response, which requires a lot of energy and resources. This shift in priorities is designed to help you conserve energy so that you can fight the infection.

  1. Reallocation of Resources towards the Immune Response

As the immune response is activated, your body reallocates its resources towards the immune system. This includes energy, amino acids, and micro-elements, which are all necessary for the immune system to build its weapons and fight the infection.

  1. Increased Metabolism and Fever

Fever is a common symptom of many infections, and it serves an important purpose. By increasing your metabolism and making your cells work harder and faster, fever helps to create heat that is stressful for many invading microorganisms. This helps to slow down the spread of the infection and gives your immune system more time to respond.

C. The Demands of the Immune System on the Body

The immune response is a complex and demanding process, and it requires a lot of resources from the body. Here are a few of the key demands:

  1. Immune Cells Need for Energy, Amino Acids, and Micro-Elements

The immune system needs a lot of energy, amino acids, and micro-elements in order to build its weapons and fight the infection. These resources are acquired by breaking down muscle tissue and other sources in the body.

  1. Breaking Down of Muscle Tissue for Resources

When you’re sick, your body slows down its digestion because it needs a lot of energy that it can’t spare. So it reaches for the easiest source of amino acids and starts breaking down your muscles. This helps to provide the resources the immune system needs to fight the infection, but it also results in the loss of muscle tissue.

D. The Dangers of the Immune Response

  1. Neutrophils and Collateral Damage

One of the first responders to an invading microorganism are neutrophils. These cells attack the invading microorganisms by showering them with chemicals. However, these chemicals can also cause damage to healthy cells, especially if the individual is already compromised.

  1. Chemicals and Toxins Released by Microorganisms

Invading microorganisms often release chemicals and toxins that can cause significant damage and cell death. This can result in tiny wounds in the individual’s organs, which the body must then repair.

  1. Repair and Scarring of Organs

The body rushes to repair the damage caused by the invading microorganisms. Immune cells like neutrophils and macrophages help by releasing chemicals that signal the body to start repairs. Some of the damage is repaired with regrowing cells, but other areas may be filled with collagen, a type of organic cement that gives the tissue structural integrity. Over time, this scarring can lead to a decrease in the functionality of the individual’s organs.

Training the Immune System

A. The Benefits of Surviving a Disease

Have you ever heard the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? This saying applies perfectly to the human body’s response to disease. When the body is exposed to a disease, the immune system responds by activating immune cells and releasing cytokines to fight the invading microorganisms. This process not only helps to eliminate the disease but also strengthens the immune system’s defense against future infections.

B. Vaccination as a Way to Train the Immune System

Vaccination is a way to train the immune system without exposing the body to the actual disease. During vaccination, the immune system is exposed to a weakened or dead version of a disease-causing microorganism. This allows the immune system to build immunity to the disease without having to suffer through the symptoms of the actual illness. The benefits of vaccination over a natural infection include a lower risk of severe complications, a lower risk of transmission to others, and the ability to build immunity before being exposed to the disease.

C. The Limitations of Vaccines

While vaccines are an effective way to train the immune system, they do have limitations. Some people may not respond to a vaccine, and others may only have a partial response. Additionally, vaccines may not be effective against all strains of a disease, and they may become less effective over time. It’s important to understand the limitations of vaccines and to continue to monitor the effectiveness of each vaccine.

D. The Importance of Training the Immune System

In conclusion, the immune system plays a crucial role in protecting the body from disease. By surviving a disease, the immune system becomes stronger and better prepared to fight future infections. Vaccination is a safe and effective way to train the immune system and build immunity to disease without having to suffer through the symptoms of the actual illness. It’s important to understand the limitations of vaccines and to continue to monitor the effectiveness of each vaccine. By training the immune system, we can stay healthy and protect ourselves and others from the dangers of disease.


In the conclusion of our article, we reflect on the importance of taking care of both our bodies and the environment. Our health and the health of the planet are interconnected, and there are many ways we can protect both.

One such way is through vaccination. By pretending to be a disease, vaccines train our immune systems to be better prepared to fight off future infections. This is a much safer and more controlled way of building immunity compared to catching a disease naturally.

Another way we can take action for our health and the environment is by offsetting our carbon footprint. Organizations like Wren make it easy for us to calculate our carbon footprint and take steps to reduce it. By supporting projects that protect the environment, we can not only reduce our impact on the planet but also promote better health for ourselves and future generations.

Climate change is also having a significant impact on health. By reducing our carbon footprint and supporting environmental initiatives, we can help mitigate the negative effects of climate change on our health.

Taking care of both our bodies and the environment is crucial for maintaining good health. Whether it’s through vaccination or offsetting our carbon footprint, there are many ways we can make a difference. Let’s take action and protect our health and the planet for a better future.