Immune System Support Medical Considerations
Immune System Discussion
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the single most cost effective antioxidant (dollar-to-dollar amount for antioxidant properties), than all other available antioxidants. Vitamin C performs many vital functions within the body. It increases the strength and integrity of connective tissue including the inside of your blood veins, producing significant positive effects upon the cardiovascular system. Vit C supports the immune system, fights viruses and some bacteria, functions as an important antioxidant and enhances adrenal gland function. Vitamin C was first discovered because of unresolved scurvy when sailors were out on the seas. Scurvy is the breakdown of small capillaries, or small blood vessels. Additional Vitamin C is needed during times of stress.
Echinacea: Echinacea can “kick-start” exhausted immune systems that are sluggish and under-reactive for fighting infections. Echinacea has shown to enhance the immune system by supporting and activating thymus gland activity for action against virus infections. It has shown to sweep dead cells and other debris through the channels of the lymphatic system, and dispatches white blood cells to fight infection. It maximizes the power of the lymph nodes to filter broken-down material within the body. The production of lymphocytes and macrophages is escalated when Echinacea is added to the system. Echinacea is best used only when needed for assistance in fighting cold viruses, flu viruses, and other infections where immune system support is needed. If used on a regular basis the body will become too used to echinacea and therefore some of Echinacea’s effectiveness will be lost during the times when it is needed the most. Both Native Americans as well as early conventional practitioners have used this herb in the 19th century for disorders ranging from venomous bites and syphilis to the common cold. In fact, the American Indians used echinacea against more illnesses than any other plant. Today, Echinacea enjoys wide use, as an immune stimulant maximizing the power of the individuals’ own immune system immune system.
Golden Seal Root: (Hydrastis Canadensis) This herb has a long history of use as an antibiotic and anti-microbial, and has enjoyed recent popularity as an adjunct to Echinacea for support during colds and flu. Goldenseal is a widely used and recommended antiseptic. Native Americans traditionally used goldenseal for digestive, respiratory and urinary disorders. It was also used topically by these cultures for skin and eye infections. It is most commonly used today for its anti-bacterial effects. The root is the potent, medically effective part of the plant. (The leaves are less potent.)
Intestinal Flora / Probiotics Replacement: Sometimes referred to as “Probiotics”. We must create a healthy environment within the Gastrointestinal Tract. Antibiotics destroy the friendly gut bacteria, allowing the naturally present candida bacteria to overpopulate, and then mutate into a mold, which penetrates the intestinal wall to infect the rest of the body. This process has the end result of a “Polysystemic Candidiasis Infection.” (Poly meaning in many systems of the body.) Replacing friendly bacteria on a regular basis, but especially during and after any antibiotic use, is very important for the prevention of a candida overgrowth. A high quality, balanced, Intestinal Replacement product, should replace the delicate strands of the various acidophilus types of intestinal bacterium. This is essential during Candida die off so other Candida does not “refill” back into the empty spaces in the intestines. This should assist in combating digestive disorders, vaginal yeast infections, and helps the body resist diseases caused by “unfriendly” bacteria.
Digestive Enzymes: Old Naturopathic Doctors and Chinese Medicine Specialists repeatedly state that the gut is the center of the body’s energy. A healthy gut will make or break a healthy immune system response. Proper digestion of food is the beginning of a healthy digestive tract. It is most effective to use an enzyme formula that has several digestive enzymes contained within. Using a single enzyme alone has much less effect as the synergy will be lost. A complete spectrum of several digestive enzymes, all working in synergy, will be most effective. Raw food has intact enzymes that assist in the digestion of that food group. Cooking destroys enzymes. Our bodies also have enzymes that assist in digesting foods, however enzyme function diminishes with age. Failure to completely digest foods leads to incomplete assimilation of nutrients. The result is the development of a number of chronic medical conditions, food allergies included. The digestive enzyme formula you choose should have been made from premium plant sources. Plant based digestive enzymes work at any pH; meaning once it is in your stomach, it starts working right away. Animal based digestive enzymes do not begin to work until after your stomach pH drops very low; thus any person with hypochlorhydria (a lack of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices), may never benefit from animal based digestive enzymes. Enzymes taken with meals will be used up in the stomach while they help digest that meal. Enzymes taken on an empty stomach will go into the blood stream intact. Blood conditions such as stacking of red blood cells (RBCs) like a stack of coins (RBC Rouleau), or red blood cells clumping together (RBC Aggregation), or accumulations of Uric Acid Crystals in the blood, can be greatly helped with a combination of Plant Digestive Enzymes and Antioxidants, taken on an empty stomach. (See our section on
Health NOTE: Individuals with extreme cases of Gastritis, Gastric or Duodenal Ulcers should begin their Enzyme Supplementation with a formula that has little or NO Protease Enzyme present. They can gradually transition over to adding Protease in approximately 4-6 weeks. This is due to the situation that Protease may temporarily have a burning sensation on individuals with these situations. Protease is the primary digestive enzyme for digesting proteins.
Blood Sugar Levels: Excess blood sugar, besides all that it causes, also aids in the proliferation of bacteria. High sugar contents are breeding grounds for bacteria. This will help to stress out the immune system. Diabetes is very high in the scale for the development of heart disease. Diabetics have a many fold greater chance of developing heart disease than the non-diabetic. Type II adult onset diabetes begins with the body’s in-ability to keep blood sugar levels in balance. If you are diabetic, or hypoglycemic, or hyperglycemic, or have diabetes in your family, you suffer a much greater chance of developing arteriosclerosis than someone who does not have diabetes. The diabetic suffers first from decreased kidney function, decreased eyesight leading to blindness, and decreased feeling in their feet, which eventually leads to open sores in their feet. The common cause is more rapid atherosclerosis / arteriosclerosis. Controlling blood sugar is very important for these patients. Approximately 16 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes, and several other million from hypoglycemia. It has been shown that many of these individuals respond very effectively with the use of herbs and nutritional supplementation; and many times some very faithful, very dramatic, dietary changes. The use of appropriate herbs and appropriate nutritional supplementations can greatly complement conventional medical treatment and assist against some complications of these chronic but manageable diseases.
Multi-Vitamins: High quality multi-vitamin / mineral formulas are needed to add the necessary “co-factors” needed for enzymatic pathways. Organic chemistry studies (a requirement for medical school students), demonstrates that all enzymatic, energy, and virtually all biological pathways in the human body, need many nutrients, or co-factors, to properly complete each pathway. Shortages of needed nutrients results in dysfunction of the organs for which those pathways could not be completed properly. Proper immune system function depends in part by having all needed nutrients available to maximum immune system strength.
Protein: To assure a complete array of all the amino acids, all the essential and non-essential, careful consideration must be made as to the quality of the protein consumed. The protein chosen should also provide maximum protein bioavailability. To achieve these qualities: First: the whey used for the protein must be from cows that were not fed any hormones! Second: The whey must only be processed under very low temperatures! Excessive heat denatures (damages) the amino acids.
For best health, it is also very advisable to combine your daily protein consumption with several, daily servings of both fruits and vegetables. Also, include a full spectrum of Omega 3, 6, and 9 essential fatty acids. Adding these two groups, the fruits / vegetables, and the fatty acids, in addition to daily protein supplementation, will provide you with the best possible nutritional foundation for sound health.
The immune system is perhaps one of the most complex and fascinating systems of the human body. While the working of other bodily systems (respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, musculoskeletal, etc.) have been well known for some time, it has only been relatively recently that researchers, scientist and physicians have understood the basic structure and functions of our immune system. Immunology, the study of the immune system, is one of the most dynamic fields of study involving the human body.
The immure system is composed of the lymphatic vessels and organs (thymus, spleen, tonsils, adenoids and lymph nodes), white blood cells, (lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, monocytes, etc.), specialized cells residing in various tissues, (macrophages, mast cells, etc.) and specialized serum factors. The immune system’s prime function is protecting the body against infection and the development of cancer.
New research has shown the value of the Olive Leaf in supporting the immune system. The olive leaf contains anti-microbial natural plant chemicals active against viruses, bacteria and yeast.
Please cross my section on Colds and Flu for a more thorough overview of the immune system.
Statistic: Five (5) minutes of strong negative emotions, such as anger, will knock down the immune system for 6 hours. Therefore, 20 minutes of strong negative emotions will suppress the immune system for one entire day. Method of measurement: “It takes 6 hours for salivary IgA to return to baseline after only five minutes of anger.” (International College of Integrative Medicine, Chelation Therapy Workshop, March 2002, Tampa Florida.)