Ep 135 – Immune System Strength with Dr. Leonard Calabrese

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“What we’re talking about is systemic, low-grade inflammation where the body’s barometer for this inflammatory response is turned up just modestly.  This contributes to a whole host of diseases.  Diseases of chronic inflammation that range from type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease with heart disease and stroke, neurodegenerative disease, fatty liver– which is now epidemic in our society– as well as autoimmune disease.  So, now these diseases which are non-communicable– you can’t catch them– they are the leading cause of death on our planet right now and they’re being driven by chronic, systemic low-grade inflammation – Dr. Leonard Calabrese

Dr. Leonard Calabrese, is a rheumatologist, immunologist, and doctor of osteopathic medicine.  He is the head of Cleveland Clinic’s Section of Clinical Immunology and manages the Clinical Immunology Clinic.  After graduating from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, Dr. Calabrese completed his internal medical training at Cleveland Clinic, followed by a fellowship in rheumatic and immunologic disease.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Calabrese has authored more than 300 publications and become an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C researcher.  He is also passionate about utilizing lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, sleep and stress management to reduce inflammation, control disease, and bolster immunologic function.  Based on growing scientific evidence that environment and behavior play a large role in immune function and gene expression, Dr. Calabrese is leading the charge in educating physicians and empowering patients so that they can feel confident in using wellness behaviors to help strengthen their immune function and improve their overall health and happiness.

Dr. Calabrese and I recently sat down to chat about the basics of the immune system and what practices we can implement in our day-to-day lives to reduce inflammation and lower our risk of chronic disease.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Dr. Calabrese’s medical background and what drew him to immunology
  • How the field of immunology has changed over the years
  • The role of our immune system: how it interacts with our body and our environment
  • How the immune system can become overactive
  • What inflammation is, and what causes contributes to it
  • What we can do to reduce our inflammation
  • Diet, intestinal permeability and their effect on the immune system
  • The role of diet, exercise, sleep and stress on the immune system
  • Social genomics and how we can influence which genes express themselves
  • Dr. Calabrese’s thoughts on the impact of gratitude practice
  • Habits that Dr. Calabrese implements in his own life to manage stress, diet, exercise and sleep
  • Dr. Calabrese’s vision for the Immune Strength program and how he hopes to help patients on a broader scale
  • Three things Dr. Calabrese does on a regular basis that have the biggest positive impact on his health
  • One thing he struggles to implement that could have a big impact on his health
  • What a healthy life looks like to Dr. Calabrese

You can follow Dr. Calabrese on Twitter and via his CME courses.


Related episodes:

Ep 22 – Brigid Titgemeir on Functional Nutrition

Ep 42 – Against All Grain’s Danielle Walker on Advocating, Healing and Celebrating

Ep 78 – Lifestyle & Brain Health with Dr. David Perlmutter 

Ep 103 – What to Eat When with Dr. Michael Roizen

Ep 105 – Sleep, Stress and Brain Health with Dr. Nate Bergman

If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.

Disclaimer: This podcast is for general information only, and does not provide medical advice. We recommend that you seek assistance from your personal physician for any health conditions or concerns.

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