Mar 12, 2016 2:42 PM

Can tattoos help prevent colds?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - If you've got lots of tattoos, chances are you spent less time in bed with a cold this winter than your non-tattooed friends.

That's the finding of Dr. Christopher Lynn, University of Alabama associate professor of anthropology. His researched was published in March in the American Journal of Human Biology.

According to University of Alabama News, Lynn says getting a tattoo can stress the body. When you stress the body repeatedly, the body builds up a resistance, akin to exercising when you're out of shape.

“After the stress response, your body returns to an equilibrium,” Lynn said. “However, if you continue to stress your body over and over again, instead of returning to the same set point, it adjusts its internal set points and moves higher.”

Researches measured levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that lines portions of the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems, and cortisol, which suppresses immune response. Researchers found that when getting a tattoo, the immunoglobulin A decreases, but researchers found that levels decreased less in people with more tattoos.

“People with more tattoo experience have a statistically smaller decrease in immunoglobulin A from before to after,” said Lynn.

These stronger immunological responses could mean people with tattoos are stronger in fighting off common infections.

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