New study shows having lots of tattoos might be good for your health

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Study: Tattoos Can Help Your Immune System

The safety risks of tattoos have been told time and time again to rebellious teens by worries parents and guardians -- but scientists are now saying that some ink may actually be just what the doctor ordered.

A new study published in the American Journal of Human Biology last week found that people who had received multiple tattoos had stronger immunological responses, potentially making them more capable of fighting off infections.

Sorry, mom.

To arrive at this conclusion, scientists at the University of Alabama obtained saliva samples from 29 volunteers -- nine of whom were getting their first tattoos.

They then analyzed the samples for levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that lines portions of our gastrointestinal and respiratory systems, and cortisol, a stress hormone known to suppress immune response.

The research showed that people with more tattoos generally had immune systems that were more easily able to retain their levels of immunoglobulin A than those with fewer tattoos.

However, you shouldn't run out to the nearest tattoo parlor just yet.

It is possible that individuals with healthy immune systems heal faster, making them more likely to get multiple tattoos. If that's the case, then this study has the cause and effect backwards.

Also, according Dr. Christopher Lynn, University of Alabama associate professor of anthropology, receiving a single tattoo can lower your resistance to illness -- at least temporarily.

"They don't just hurt while you get the tattoo, but they can exhaust you," Lynn said. "It's easier to get sick. You can catch a cold because your defenses are lowered from the stress of getting a tattoo."

The body's response to tattooing is similar to that experienced from exercising in the gym when you're out of shape, Lynn explains.

Think of it this way: When you are just starting a new work out regimen, your muscles become sore very easily.

But, if you continue working out regularly, the soreness becomes lesser and lesser after subsequent workouts.

In a similar way, getting multiple tattoos could your body build a stronger immune system -- it just takes time.

So the next time anyone gives you a hard time about that sleeve tattoo you're considering, you know what to tell 'em -- no pain, no gain.

Check out these awesome celebrity tattoos:

Female celebs with tattoos
See Gallery
New study shows having lots of tattoos might be good for your health

Megan Fox

(Photo credit Robyn Beck, AFP/Getty Images)

Angelina Jolie

(Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Actress Angelina Jolie attends 'The Tree Of Life' premiere during the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2011 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Katy Perry

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Scarlett Johansson

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Actress Scarlett Johansson arrives at the Opening Night of LA Shorts Fest '09 held at Laemmle's Sunset 5 on July 23, 2009 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for LA Shorts Fest)

Shenae Grimes

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

Eva Longoria

(Photo credit Francois Guillot, AFP/Getty Images)

Kat Von D

(Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

Heidi Klum

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for EJAF)

Evan Rachel Wood

(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Christina Aguilera

(Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Christina Aguilera arrives at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal Studios on June 6, 2010 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Christina Ricci

(Star Max via AP Images)


(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Miley Cyrus

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Helen Mirren

(Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Pamela Anderson

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Willis & Woy Sports Group)

Cher Lloyd

(Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Star Magazine)

Lady Gaga

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Rita Ora

(Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Lena Dunham

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Rumer Willis

(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Ruby Rose

(Photo by Theresa Bouche/Invision/AP Images)

Cara Delevingne

(Photo credit Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images)

Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)


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