Why Women Have a Stronger Immune System Than Men

Written by Pliro
Feb 27, 2017 Last updated: Mar 2, 2017

Research shows that both, old and young women have highly developed immune systems. This is because they respond more strongly to flu vaccines than men do. Women produce more antibodies and a higher inflammatory cytokine count. For this reason, women have a higher life expectancy rate than men. Let us find out what makes a woman more resilient to those health complications that have a greater impact on men. 


Females are born with two chromosomes while males have one X and one Y chromosome. While the female embryo is developing, one of the X chromosomes in each body cell becomes inactive. Research shows that this is due to the presence of genetic material in cells known as the microRNAs. These micorRNAs carry out the function of inactivating specific genes. Hence, the female immune system becomes more effective than the male.

Digging deeper, researchers believe that in the human genome, 10 percent of all microRNAs are present in the X chromosome. However, the Y chromosome has none of these microRNAs which are presumably involved in cancer development and immune system function. Therefore, if they help control cell growth, then having two copies of the microRNAs would give women a stronger immunity and extra protection against cancer. Septic patients, or those with widespread bacterial infections, are examples of those with low levels of the required microRNA.


Recent research suggests that genes that are regulated by testosterone found in males have the lowest antibody response. Scientists have found out that the higher the level of testosterone, the lower the reaction of the immune system to vaccines.

Therefore, the more advanced immune systems in females help them fight more effectively against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Additionally, women are less prone to developing cancer as opposed to men whereby the ratio is two to five. They are also better when it comes to surviving trauma.


Even though women have a more developed immunity, a flip-side also exists. Hereby the immune system may become overactive. The result is that the immune system may attack healthy tissue. This leads to diseases such as lupus. Some fatal post-infection issues may arise as well, including excessive cytokine production. Thus, overproduction of the immune cells may disrupt the body’s normal functions. 

Therefore, there is more to difference in gender than just the body type and maturity level. Both, men and women have extremely complex bodies, with certain mysteries that are yet to be revealed. Women are born with a stronger immune system since they have to put their bodies to the ultimate tests during their lifetime.