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High IgA Levels? 5 Ways to Improve Immune Health

Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Reviewed by Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy) | Last updated:
Puya Yazdi
Medically reviewed by
Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Biljana Novkovic, PhD | Reviewed by Ana Aleksic, MSc (Pharmacy) | Last updated:

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High IgA Antibodies Signal Chronic Inflammation

Normal IgA levels protect the body against infections, allergies, and autoimmunity. High levels usually point to chronic inflammation. Read on to learn about the factors that may balance the immune response by decreasing IgA levels.

IgA levels are a marker of immune health. Low or high levels don’t necessarily indicate a problem if there are no symptoms or if your doctor tells you not to worry about it.

Improving your IgA levels won’t necessarily directly cause any kind of improvement in immune balance, but it can be used as a biomarker for your immune health.

The following are a list of complementary approaches to improve immune health and that have also been found to balance high IgA levels.

Though studies suggest various dietary and lifestyle factors may lower IgA levels, additional large-scale studies are needed. Remember to talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your day-to-day routine.

Address Underlying Inflammation Issues

Aside from the factors listed below, remember that IgA is a non-specific marker of inflammation. Talk with your doctor to resolve the underlying cause of your high IgA levels, such as chronic inflammation or infections.

You can also read about complementary approaches to lowering inflammation, such as taking curcumin or black cumin seed oil, exercising or practicing yoga, and following a Meditteranean-like diet.

IgA points to chronic inflammation or infection. Your doctor may suggest steps you can take to lower inflammation and monitor other markers of inflammation.

5 Factors that May Reduce Inflammation (As Measured by Lowering High IgA)

1) Cocoa

In animal studies, cocoa decreased IgA in the blood, gut, and saliva [1, 2].

2) Avoiding Alcohol

Blood IgA levels tend to increase with alcohol consumption. In 460 people, the highest IgA levels were observed in heavy drinkers [3].

White wine increased blood IgA in 5 men [4].

However, while blood IgA increases, gut IgA may actually decrease with alcohol. In mice, alcohol increased total IgA but decreased gut IgA. Alcohol may diminish the release of IgA into the gut [5].

Getting more dietary cocoa and avoiding heavy alcohol drinking are factors that may lower IgA levels.

3) Sexual Activity in Women

During ovulation, immunity decreases to prevent immune interference with possible conception. Also, it is possible that there is a trade-off between investing energy in immunity and investing in reproduction.

This may explain why sexually active women have lower IgA levels than abstinent women [6].

Women with a high frequency of sexual activity had a decrease in IgA during ovulation. On the other hand, women with low frequency or no sexual activity had an increase in IgA during ovulation [7].

Women who are sexually active have lower IgA levels, especially during ovulation.

4) Anger Management

Among 18 healthy men and women with anger and depressive symptoms, IgA was increased in those who expressed their anger [8].

Domestic abuse perpetrators prone to express their anger have higher IgA levels [9, 10].

People prone to expressing anger have higher IgA levels. Anger management techniques can help people learn how to control their anger.

5) Refraining from Fasting

Refrain from fasting. In one study, fasting increased blood IgA levels in obese subjects [11].

Estrogen Levels

In 86 women, those with higher estradiol (main estrogen) had higher IgA levels [12].

In cell studies, estrogens increase IgA transport into the mucus, which decreases bacterial invasion [13, 14].

Though estrogen helps women maintain a healthy and strong immune system, having too much estrogen may theoretically excessively raise IgA. Check your estrogen levels to make sure your hormones are balanced.

Takeaway

High IgA signals chronic inflammation. Your doctor may suggest steps you can take to reduce inflammation. Some complementary approaches include yoga, herbal supplements (curcumin), and following a healthy diet. Studies suggest that cocoa, avoiding heavy drinking, and refraining from fasting may also reduce inflammation and lower IgA levels.

Learn More

About the Author

Biljana Novkovic

Biljana Novkovic

PhD
Biljana received her PhD from Hokkaido University.
Before joining SelfHacked, she was a research scientist with extensive field and laboratory experience. She spent 4 years reviewing the scientific literature on supplements, lab tests and other areas of health sciences. She is passionate about releasing the most accurate science and health information available on topics, and she's meticulous when writing and reviewing articles to make sure the science is sound. She believes that SelfHacked has the best science that is also layperson-friendly on the web.

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