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Boost Your Disease-Fighting Defences!

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The human immune system is a complex world made up of microscopic cells functioning to defend and protect your body from disease, infection and other potentially harmful foreign agents.

The human immune system is a complex world made up of microscopic cells functioning to defend and protect your body from disease, infection and other potentially harmful foreign agents. It's actually a superbrain identifying, recording and remembering foreign substances and incoming menaces. A strong immune system will respond to invaders quickly and efficiently and be able to maintain health in the whole organism, even when exposed to toxins, chemicals and other oxidative stress.

A lifestyle that promotes ready-to-act immunity is critically important. Standard or conventional medicine (including pharmaceuticals) can effectively alleviate illness and treat diseases by fighting them on an external level. However, drugs and surgery do little or nothing to strengthen natural, built-in defences. What frequently ensues is successive illness. Optimizing your body's ability to ward off offenders and fight disease on its own leads to an increased level of health and well-being.

One trillion cellular guards (white blood cells) that arise in bone marrow patrol every inch of the circulatory system, bathing cells. The immune system, comprised of 10 times as many cells as in the entire human nervous system, manufactures about 40 different immune agents. It's elaborate and finely tuned and is controlled not by a central organ such as the brain, but rather by a complex information network operating among the individual members.

Organs of Immunity

There are five "immune" organs in the human body:

  • The thymus gland is involved in the formation of T-cells.

  • The tonsils and adenoids distinguish invaders that may need destroying.

  • The spleen is the organ that filters blood and distributes T-cells and B-cells.

  • The lymph glands form and store white blood cells.

  • The bone marrow is where B-cells are produced.

Proper nourishment unprocessed, whole foods that are easily digested and assimilated provides fuel for the body. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, nuts and vegetables is essential in maintaining a resilient immune defence which can respond efficiently to offenders. A high-sugar diet puts undue stress on the body and has been associated with a higher risk of illness and a shortened life span.

Routine physical exercise is also an important factor. Moderate physical exercise enhances immunity and leads to fewer illnesses and disease states.

Nutrients Strengthen Immunity

When confronted with the fact that herbal and "alternative" medicines have become popular in Europe and the USA, the reason given is that they prevent disease and boost the immune system. Botanical and herbal medicines have been used for centuries for this very purpose. As well, a regular supply of antioxidants ensures protection from damage caused by oxidation and helps to maintain health. Some antioxidants are:

  • Vitamin C: The most important of all vitamins. We need to both ingest foods rich in this vitamin as well as supplement with it because our bodies do not manufacture vitamin C on their own. Dosages range from 1,000 mg to 10,000 mg and beyond. Bowel tolerance is a good indicator of dosage. The best food sources are fruits and vegetables such as greens and sprouts. Kiwi fruit is one of the world's highest sources of vitamin C.

  • Vitamin E: Natural tocopherol is extracted from the germ of wheat and soy. The best food sources are whole grains, nuts and seeds. Supplementary dosages range from 100 IU to 2,000 IU daily. There is overwhelming evidence to demonstrate that our modern diet is lacking in vitamin E, which has significantly contributed to the increase in heart disease.

  • Vitamin A beta-carotene (provitamin A): Beta-carotene is an antioxidant vitamin derived from the carotenoid molecules of colored vegetables (beets, carrots, yams, squash), which are also its best food sources. Scientific studies have shown that carotenoids not only strengthen eyes and skin, but also protect us against cancer. Dosages range from 10,000 IU to 200,000 IU.

  • Selenium: A valuable trace mineral with antioxidant properties, selenium is often lacking in the American diet as a result of its deficiency in soil. Natural sources include bran and the germ of grains and vegetables such as broccoli, onions, kale and tomatoes. Supplementing with selenium should proceed with care, for instances of toxicity have occurred, especially above 200 mcg per day. Recommended amounts range from 50 to 200mcg per day.

  • Zinc: An important mineral that is known to increase the size of your thymus gland, the powerhouse of your immune system. It also improves T-cell function. Zinc is important in prostate health, vision, wound healing and can help alleviate colds and flu. Recommended dosage is 30 to 60 mg per day.

  • Magnesium: One of the most important minerals in our bodies, magnesium is involved in over 200 enzymatic reactions in the body. It works to relax muscles and acts like nature's "calcium channel blocker" by making the heart work more efficiently. Deficiency of magnesium (and calcium) is mainly due to the consumption of acidic foods and caffeinated soft drinks.

  • Co-enzyme Q10: An essential enzyme, although not well understood. It is a very energetic cofactor in our cells, especially heart cells, and has been proven to protect against cancer. It may help decrease metastasis.

  • L-glutathione: A vital amino acid that aids in enzyme detoxifying, liver cirrhosis, infectious hepatitis, and skin ailments. L-glutathione is a potent detoxifier. It eliminates pollution from the body rapidly, thereby improving liver function and protecting our immunity.

Probiotics and Immunity

Fermented dairy products and the probiotic bacteria used to produce them have traditionally been associated with beneficial effects on human health. Recently, public interest in their immune-boosting potential has increased.

Probiotics are "good" bacteria that work in the intestinal tract. They fight pathogenic infections and promote recovery from infections by stimulating the production of antibodies, interleukins and cytokines. These target and neutralize pathogens like E coli and Salmonella. Since our gastrointestinal tract is the most important line of defence against pathogens, it's important to keep it vigilant with the aid of probiotic supplementation.

Studies have shown that there is no single probiotic bacteria that can do it all, but that a blend of documented strains (such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lb rhamnosus and Bifidobacteria) is a better choice, as each has been shown to modulate unique components of the immune system. Probiotics come in different forms, including chewable tablets, capsulated blends and enteric-coated capsules.

Source: Joanna Wozniak

Vitamin C: How Much is too Much?

Vitamin C is one of the most effective and popular supplements on the market. One question everyone asks is, how much is too much?

For treatment purposes, everybody has a unique "bowel tolerance," which is the maximum amount of vitamin C it's possible to consume before experiencing diarrhea. Robert Cathcart, MD, has spent decades treating thousands of patients using large doses of vitamin C. He has noted that the amount of oral vitamin C (ascorbic acid) a patient can take before the stools become loose depends on his state of health. Generally, the sicker the person, the more he can absorb. Dr Cathcart's article, "Vitamin C, Titrating to Tolerance," is available at orthomed.com/titrate/htm.

Many illnesses and symptoms can be eliminated by performing a "vitamin C flush." This process involves increasing your vitamin C intake until the body reaches its maximum saturation point, which is normally just before experiencing diarrhea. The best vitamin C flush is done with buffered vitamin C powder, taking a teaspoon in juice every half-hour. Once bowel tolerance level is reached, the dosage can be cut back to where the stool is normal.

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