Leading Scientist Reveals The Secrets to a Healthy Immune System with Jenna Macciochi


What does immunity mean to you? In today’s Feel Better Live More podcast, researcher and lecturer, Dr Jenna Macciochi explains that it’s not just about fighting off infection. Our immune systems do not lie dormant, waiting to wage war if bacteria or viruses invade – they play a central and constant role as our bodies’ housekeepers.

How do we do that? From empowering nutrition advice to insights into how our metabolism and immune systems interact, there’s plenty of practical takeaway from this conversation. We discuss the disruptive effects of stress and how cortisol dampens immunity and even reactivates viruses. Having learned this first-hand when chronic stress led to her getting pneumonia, Jenna shares some helpful rituals for reducing the impact of stress in your life.

Perhaps most fascinating though, is the idea that the type of person you are can shape your immunity. Jenna explains there are five main personality categories and each of them have specific immunological features. Traits and behaviours typical of each category, such as risk taking, sociability and how we respond to stress, can end up informing how our immune systems develop. As we discuss, ‘It’s more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.’

This is a valuable conversation for anyone who wants to understand more about their immune system, not just to reduce their risk of getting an infection, but also to increase their overall wellbeing and longevity.

Show notes available at

Connect with Jenna:

Jenna’s book:
Immunity: The Science of Staying Well –

Related Feel Better Live More podcasts:
#33 The Gut-Brain Connection and Why Diversity is Key with Miguel Toribio-Mateas
#81 Why When We Eat May Be More Important Than What We Eat with Professor Satchin Panda

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Dr Chatterjee’s book Feel Better in 5 is out now in the UK and in the US and Canada
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DISCLAIMER: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

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  1. keep it says


  2. Irena Gubina says

    Dear Dr. Chatterjee, Thank you on a heart warming interview with such a open minded scientist. I love how you are diving into thought of emotions shaping and influencing biological response in a body and might even cause a disease. You might be interested in a fact, that there was a german doctor named Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer, who through his own traumatic experience and following disease started to think, explore and found a system of interrelation between mass of conflict influencing certain tissue by biological means, causing symptoms, according to an emotion involved. He named his maping of a symptoms "The German New Medicine". I guess there is not much of his material translated to English, mainly German or Italian translations. Anyhow, his full chart and book in English (and a video with english subtitels) on this topic you can find on page : https://amici-di-dirk.com/ I think this is an outstanding work and wonderful tool, or maybe at least a thougt stretching statement of our perspective on the disease. Thank You.

  3. Moonsod says

    Very basic and simplistic.I was expecting better and deeper and more cutting-edge breakthroughs. Nothing new here.

  4. estelle o says

    What about autoimmune disease when the immune system is too strong and harmful.???

  5. Wellness Path For Me says

    Magnesium and bio-copper deficiencies occur due to depleted food supply and metabolic stress response.
    Metallic iron filings were added to the food supply in 1941. Pathogens of all types feed on an iron buffet.
    Iron in Cereal Video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGbwFtmJOi4
    Iron behaving badly: iron as contributor to inflammatory and degenerative diseases — https://bmcmedgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1755-8794-2-2
    Summary of Rogue Iron Accumulation in the Human Body — https://veritascontent.blob.core.windows.net/audio/YTC_Archive/ytc010719-MorleyRobbins.mp3
    Morley Robbins – My Theory Of Everything — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq94ROB5qEs

  6. jane simmons says

    how about addressing the stress of being over 70 years and having a chronic illness?that's when the real stress starts!

  7. V says

    Found this link by chance. I,ve had a copy France's More Lappe,s book 'Diet for a small planet' since the mid 1970s. It explained concept of combination of different plant foods to improve protein nutritional value with many recipes using traditional ideas. Thanks for updating much previous information and linking nutrition, stress, gut biome and immune function. Good to see nutritional science evolving and integrating with other disciplines.

  8. NaturalWays says

    Loved the openess and new insights. Went and got the book. Thanks.

  9. Scott Snyder says

    I am still waiting for the connection to be emphasized that our peronal environment is a reflection of our shared environment. When our shared environment is healthy our personal environment will be easier to manage.

  10. KEATS GIPSY says

    Wonderful interview thx you, so well explained

  11. linda mcdermott says

    Yes! Stress affects everything. Need to take care of body, mind and soul. This has been known since the beginning.

  12. quiet storm says

    Also, great to keep up with exercises. Great vid.

  13. Love Wins says

    Have a look at the Cronometer app. I can hit 100% of all my aminos and omegas easily on a plant based diet using a mixture of cereals, nuts, beans, seitan, seeds, tofu, oat milk and vegetables, just using Cronometer to identify what foods have what aminos and omegas.

  14. schchen2000 says

    Does she have a Glasgow accent?

  15. Ron_the_Skeptic says
  16. Notadonna says

    Thank you! I am recovering from a complex, chronic illness. Part of my journey has been employ Ayurveda, which is more personalized to address individual imbalances and personalities. Also, I buy the freshest, best-grown food Ican find and cook it very simply, e.g., baked root vegetables and winter squash, steamed red cabbage walnuts, etc. This is a good chance to re-shape a healthier diet.
    I am also trying to remember to stop and connect with my food as I eat (as well as learning to be present in the moment, in general).

  17. Anne Loughnane says

    Very refreshing to listen to…….

  18. Jackie W says

    This was so pleasurable to listen to. Two highly intelligent humans discussing such important topics in a way that's so easily absorbed. I'm a big believer in gratitude, forgiveness and NOT filling every moment to be as "busy" as possible. Yes to boundaries, I've often said why was I not taught this in school? I'm guided more by intuition now. I cleared my eczema, allergies and hayfever by totally changing not just what I ate but how I ate, what I put on my body, laundry liquid, etc…my sweet tooth has gone as I now realise I had an overgrowth of bad bacteria in my gut, if I crave something sweet I either eat some protein or drink water…

    Morning routine is something I'm working on.

    Loved the mindfulness and association with music, candles, anchors and routine..

    Thank you both of you, really appreciate this podcast.

    Particularly loved your own personal experiences…

    Thank you 🙏

  19. Ron_the_Skeptic says

    Really? Saturated fat is hard on the intestines? The product produced by microbes dining on fiber is saturated fat!

  20. Ron_the_Skeptic says

    Really? We spent hundreds of thousands of years evolving on a meat based diet. Unlike our primate relatives we have larger brains and smaller guts. Also unlike our primate relatives our digestion is achieved through hydrochloric acid breaking down animal matter instead of bacteria breaking down plant fiber. Close examination of our primate relatives reveals many of them will also eat meat if it becomes available! This business of eating all the different colours of fruit and vegetables is nonsense. Most of our ancestors evolved not eating any plant material. The vast majority of fruits and vegetables in the local grocery store weren't even available 100 years ago.

  21. Danny Meske says

    stress causes you not to give a dam about what you eat!

  22. alan robinson says

    Was surprised no mention of vit D, growing evidence of protection from inflammatory effects of Covid.

  23. Mary Collins says


  24. Malcolm Down says

    Just finished her book – an excellent presentation of what our immune system really does and how we 'balance' it rather than 'boost' it!

  25. MusicAndOtherColors says

    Brilliant conversation. I would also love to hear her opinion about Hippocrates Diet (the ancient Greek Mediterranean vegan RAW diet from the father of medicine ) or maybe you Dr Rangan find a specialist on this subject please ? Hippocrates diet explains very well why we need the living food and the food enzymes to have a healthy immune system, Hippocrates was examine his patients in body and soul, physically and mentally.

  26. Eli Elfassy says

    Thank you for all the info you are sharring!

  27. Francesca Pesce Hughes says

    Best discussion I’ve ever seen . Not one sided. Both truly listening. A proper conversation . Thank you so much

  28. JACQUILLO2 says

    prophylaxy for everybody at risk (older than 60) with vitamins, zinc, quercetin, anti-oxydants, fresh air, walking, balanced food , minimum 6 hours sleep. this should be government guideline , but it is not : i wonder why ? what di they want ? what role the health institution are playing ? are they interested in the general public having low defenses ???

  29. Sailing Sam says

    Thank you for a great discussion about our immune system from all kinds of perspectives.

  30. Truman Green says

    Great talk but I already knew all of it. I'm almost 76 and believe that I'm in the top 5% considering health. Basically, I don't get sick. My secret is that I somehow learned young that I need to have a respectful relationship with my immune system, which wants to protect me.
    I've also learned that I am susceptible to believing that I am I invincible, and overdoing the amount of physical energy I can safely expend.
    It is essential to be moderate in all things, including moderation, accept no abuse and abuse noone.

  31. Allen Miller says

    There is absolutely no way to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals if you consume a healthy 2000 calories a day. This is the RDA requirements which are way too low for a healthy lifestyle. You will need to take supplements. I challenge her to get enough vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats from food alone I know this because I track the food I consume using Chronometer.

  32. James Anastasius says

    A lot of micronutrients are contaminated with glyphosates especially the lentils,they need to spray glyphosate on the lentils plants to destroy other weeds before harvesting.

  33. Tony Osime says

    Great interaction between the discussants. I was listening in the background while I worked on a document. I found myself tuning in again and again. I must listen again with fuller concentration. Thank you for a great discussion. I look forward to your next session. It is a great example of rubbing minds to create synergy.

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