We just stumbled upon a very interesting article about a recent study published in the American Journal of Human Biology. The study claims that getting repeated tattoos could actually aid in fighting off infections, like the common cold. The health benefit comes from a tattooed person’s immune system being amped up with cortisol, a response to high levels of immunoglobin A.
A team of researchers enrolled 29 individuals, ages 18 to 47, who were receiving tattoos at one of three study locations in Alabama, between May and December, 2012. Saliva was collected from each participant before getting tattooed and again after. They then tested these samples for immunoglobin A levels as well as cortisol levels. Immunoglobin A is an antibody, and acts as the first line of defense against common infections.
This data was compiled, along with data on each participant’s tattooing history: how many sessions had they had, how many years had it been since their first tattoo, how many hours in their lifetime have been spent getting tattoos? Etc., etc.
Initially, after a person gets a tattoo their body is stressed. This high stress zone makes the person more vulnerable to infections. Getting a tattoo can be exhausting for the body. However, and here’s the good news, over an extended amount of time, and after repeated tattooing sessions, a person’s stress response adjusts to a higher level.
Dr. Christopher Lynn, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, said, “After the stress response, your body returns to an equilibrium. 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.”
Meaning, people who had more tattoos showed less of a reduction in immunoglobin A levels, and the person has an increased immune system resilience, all which continues to build with greater exposure.
Even more simply put, it is just like how the body responds when one is getting in shape. The first workout hurts, your body is sore, and you are exhausted. But the more you do it, the less it hurts.
Like you really needed another excuse to get a tattoo!