Getting tattoos could help keep you from getting sick
Whether you love them or hate them, new research shows that tattoos mightactually strengthen your immunological responses ... if you get enoughof them, that is. Much in the same way that your musclesfeel sore when you first start going to the gym, getting atattoo can be exhausting, with the body's defenses lowered by thestress of the experience. But just as you'll feel less fatigued themore you exercise, the more tattoos you get, the more your bodybecomes able to deal with the experience, and the stronger its responsebecomes.
That's what the new research, conductedby scientists at the University of Alabama, has found. The teamworked with tattoo businesses in Tucaloosa and Leeds, recording theamount of time patients were tattooed, and taking saliva samplesbefore and after sessions.
Back in the lab, the team analyzed thesamples, measuring levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A anda stress hormone that's known that suppresses immune response, knownas cortisol. The results showed that increased stress levels whengetting a tattoo lead to a significant reduction in immunoglobulin Alevels. However, the more tattoos that any one individual received,the antibody decrease became less and less pronounced.
According to the researchers, the moreoften a patient gets a tattoo, the higher the stress thresholdbecomes before an immunological response is triggered. In a basicsense, immunologically speaking, the body gets stronger.
The topic of the research might seem alittle out of the ordinary, but to researcher Dr. Christopher Lynn,that's exactly the point, with the unusual research topic helping to catch the attention ofhis students.
"The trick is to find ways to studycatchy concepts that are also important," said Lynn. "Nobody had done anything like thistattooing study, looking at the potential benefits from a biologicalperspective."
The research was published online inthe American Journal of Human Biology.
Source: University of Alabama