Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Primer on Immune System Function & Dysfunction

You probably know people who are sick all the time and others who never get sick. Why is that? We are all exposed to the same viruses and bacteria, yet our immune systems handle these exposures quite differently. The mystery surrounding the differences in our immune systems is found at the cellular level of the body. There are several factors that affect immune function:

1. Genetic composition – we all have different genetic material making up our immune systems

2. Cell care – cells require proper nourishment and environment to stay strong & healthy. Good foods, water &  air strengthen cells; also vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbs and essential fatty acids are required.

3. Protection – from environmental pollution, poor diet, stress which damage cell function. (and thus weaken immune function)

What causes immune failure?  I have alluded to it above, but will explain it more fully here.

Immune cells operate at a very high metabolic rate which enables them to react quickly to invaders (bacteria, viruses, allergens, etc). They must, therefore, reproduce more frequently and accurately to replace the damaged and exhausted cells – our soldiers. To accomplish this recurrent demand, we must maintain optimum levels of nutrients in our blood at all times.

The things we eat, drink and inhale can depress our immune system. It is well proven that alcohol, sugar and second-hand smoke all depress immune cell activity, and they also deplete many of the nutrients in the blood stream. These two events are closely associated. This interaction is a key to explaining why supplementation provides such dramatic support for a strong immune system.

High cholesterol levels suppress immune function; emotional stress is also a major contributor. There’s another kind of stress – environmental stress – which is wreaking havoc with our immune system health.

Our environment is saturated with chemicals and the numbers are growing every day. We live in a toxic soup! Pesticides, food additives (artificial coloring, nitrites, artificial sweeteners), fragrance, phthalates and other chemicals in personal care, toxic cleaning products, indoor air…the list goes on and on! These are all enemies of the immune system.

Friends of the Immune System:

1. Diet & Nutrition – you probably already know about eating a healthy diet. Eliminate the white stuff and eat whole grains instead; eat healthy fats, lots of fruit & veggies, plenty of pure water and lean proteins. This is where supplements come in as well. Diet alone – no matter how good it is – can’t supply everything our cells need to stay healthy. Supplementing with good quality products is essential.

2. Air & Breathing – air purifiers if necessary and deep breathing. Cells need oxygen.

3. Exercise – regular exercise, including cardio and weight workouts, is important for immune system health. Exercise impacts our physical and emotional wellbeing; both of which affect our immune system.

4. Sleep – the body needs rest to allow energy to be concentrated on regeneration. 7-9 hours is optimal for adults.

Personal Testimony: Fifteen years ago, I suffered from sinus infections and frequent colds. I also had seasonal allergies. At the time, my diet was good, and I exercised. Maybe I didn’t get quite enough sleep, but I did take vitamins that I purchased from the drug store. Even though I was “sick” a lot, I thought I was pretty healthy.

One day, a friend came to me and asked me if I would take a look at the supplements she was using since they had worked so well for her and her family. I did and within six months my allergies were gone. No more meds! And the most amazing part is that I haven’t had a single sinus infection since switching brands. What I learned was that by taking better quality products that actually worked at the cellular level, I was building up my immune system; I increased the strength of my soldiers who were better able to outmaneuver the enemies - allergens, viruses and bacteria.

Feeding the cells what they need to stay healthy, breathing clean air, getting plenty of exercise and sleep will go a long way to keeping our immune function in tip-top shape. What are you doing to keep your body’s army strong against the enemy?

The Immune System Handbook (Your Owner’s Manual) by Charlene A. Day
Health Quest Newsletter, volume 24, Number 2 by Dr. Frank M. Painter

1 comment:

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