Study links tattoos to strengthened immune systems - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Study links tattoos to strengthened immune systems

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David Foster has been coming to Bent Shrader Tattoo in South Charleston, WV for years.

"We've just added on and added on and now we are kind of tying everything together," said David. 

While he says he enjoys adding new tattoos to his collection, he had no idea that his ink addiction could actually make him healthier. A new study from the University of Alabama links people with multiple tattoos to a strengthened immune system.

"It's pretty cool because I'm never sick and I've got quite a few tattoos. If they can prove it I guess that there is some evidence that it's true," said Bent Schrader, the owner of Bent Schrader Tattoo in South Charleston, WV.

The study shows that your first tattoo might temporarily weaken your immune system, but the more you get the stronger it gets. Researchers compared the process to going to the gym, the first time can make your body sore and tired but the more you do it the stronger you get.

They say the pain and stress of getting multiple tattoos forces your immune system to get stronger, so people with multiple tattoos are more likely to avoid illnesses like the common cold.

Using 29 participants, the researchers measured immunoglobulin A (SIgA), which is a sign of immune system activity, and cortisol, which is released by the body when stressed.

They hypothesized that people who have multiple tattoos have more SIgA and less cortisol because their immune systems would have adapted over time to the stress of getting inked.

"Tattoos always get a bad rep and this is something that actually keeping people from getting sick over the years that's awesome," said David Foster. 

Bent hopes that the buzz created by this new study will push more people though his doors, creating a solid future for tattoo artists across the globe.

"Yeah, tattooing isn't going anywhere. It's here to stay and probably get bigger than it already is," said Bent. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, tattoos can also come with some serious health risks like allergic reactions and bloodborne illnesses. 

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