Immunity – our natural defence against infections
Whether summer or winter, there is always a risk of getting sick. Strengthen your immune system – naturally – and avoid the bugs getting you down. Arrange a consultation for a comprehensive health analysis and the best way to get your immune system fighting fit!
Natural Immune Support
The common cold is caused by a wide variety of viruses which infect the nasal passages, sinuses and throat causing symptoms such as fever, headache and congestion. We are constantly exposed to many viruses, yet the majority of people only experience the discomfort of a ‘cold’ once or twice a year. A decrease in immune function is the major factor in ‘catching’ a cold.
Maintaining a healthy immune system is the best way to protect yourself against ‘catching’ colds, ‘flu and other infections. Eating a healthy balanced diet is also paramount to immune health which is intricately linked to gut health.
A Nutrigenomic approach is our best defence against the threat of viral and other infections as it provides the key to upregulating the genes governing Cellular Defence. What does this mean? By supporting and strengthening our body’s own mechanisms, it is better able to:
(1) Detect a microbial threat,
(2) Ramp up the virus kill processes when needed – and of equal importance,
(3) Shut them down on cue to avoid damaging our own cells.
At True Medicine, our key emphasis is that a successful immune response is largely dependent on the function of the cells that line both the gut and respiratory systems. These cells interact continuously with the underlying cells of the immune network. By supporting these cells’ ability to detect, kill and repair damage caused by microbes, we are better equipped to defend ourselves against viral or other microbial infection.
What affects the immune system?
The immune system is greatly affected by a person’s emotional state, level of stress, lifestyle, acid-alkaline state or pH, dietary habits and nutritional status. Nutrient deficiencies are the most frequent cause of a depressed immune system as any single nutrient deficiency can impair the immune system. The health of your digestive system, in particular the ‘gut’ or bowels, also plays a major role in immune health as more than 70% of the immune system is based around the ‘gut’.
Dietary factors and immune health
Optimal immune health requires a healthy diet rich in whole, natural foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, quality protein and low in refined sugars and ‘bad’ fats. Excessive consumption of sugar (which includes processed carbohydrates) depresses the immune system.
This should also be taken into consideration during any infection where consumption of concentrated fruit juices during an infection may do more harm than good due to the high sugar content.
Wheat and dairy both cause an increase in mucous production and should be avoided during any episode of cold or ‘flu.
Supplements and the immune system
There are several nutrients which can be taken as supplements to assist in maintaining and supporting immune health. However, it is recommended that you invest in quality supplements that provide good levels of vitamins and minerals rather than low grade over-the-counter varieties.
Vitamin C is a good example. When choosing a vitamin C supplement, always ensure it provides an alkaline source of the vitamin (buffered is best) as well as bioflavinoids. Small regular doses are better than one big one. Try taking 1/4 teaspoon four to five times a day – after meals.
When supplementing with Vitamin E be mindful if you suffer hypertension: start with a low dose and gradually increase as it may increase your blood pressure levels. Also only supplement with mixed tocopherols. Always take Vitamin E with Vitamin C as Vitamin C is required to recycle the end product of Vitamin E.
Supporting your body’s natural antioxidant production of Nrf2 can be more beneficial as your body will produce only what it needs as opposed to flooding the cells with excessive levels which can actually fuel inflammation.
Practitioner-only products are always your best option providing quality supplements but also prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
Herbs for immune health
Plants have been implemented to stimulate or potentiate the body’s own defence mechanisms for thousands of years. In contract to the medical approach, herbal remedies stimulate or potentiate the body’s own defence mechanisms rather than substituting for them. This way the body’s natural balance is preserved and side effects are either not present or substantially reduced. Although both vaccines and herbs elicit an immune response, vaccines boost the body’s response to a specific pathogen whereas herbs tend to enhance overall immunity. The immunological activity of different herbal medicines is being increasingly documented with labels such as immune enhancers being ascribed to herbs which enhance non-specific resistance and enhance or stimulate one or more aspects of the immune system, such as immune components that are beneficial in fighting pathogens.
The advantage of enhancing non-specific immune defences as opposed to vaccine-induced specific defence lies in the variability of pathogens we are exposed to. Viruses, in particular, mutate very quickly rendering many specific defences obsolete.
There are several herbal options which support immune health as well as strengthen its fighting capacity in times of infection.
As with supplements, always ensure that you invest in quality grade herbal remedies and only on the advice of a qualified natural health practitioner.
Sunshine and immunity
Low Vitamin D levels have been identified in relation to increased bone fractures, obesity, pre-diabetes states, impaired cognitive function, muscular pain, breast cancer and increased susceptibility to viral infection. With years of advertising focusing on the dangers of sun exposure, many of us have forgotten the benefits of sunshine on our skin. Any exposure to sun should be limited to the early morning or late afternoon, always avoiding the scalding mid-day sun. Babies need sunshine too – five to ten minutes of early morning sun, in a sheltered place to avoid chills helps not only their bones grow strong. Using common sense in regard to sun exposure may alleviate the need to supplement with Vitamin D.
What to do if you catch a cold
Supporting the body’s natural defences is your best option to shortening the duration of a cold. Suppressing symptoms – such as headache, mild fever, runny nose etc – does nothing to help your body fight the viruses or build a strong immunity. A fever, provided it remains below 40oC (104oF) is the body’s natural mechanism to counteract the infection. There are also several natural options which help keep any fever well below dangerous levels while maintaining its health benefits.
Rest is an essential component during any infection as this allows the immune system to do its job and you recover faster.
Drink lots of fluids – hot herbal teas, vegetable soups, water help maintain essential levels of hydration and assist function of white blood cells. Studies have shown that consuming concentrated sources of sugars like glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey or orange juice greatly reduces the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria.
Antibiotics and Infections
What the natural health practitioners have addressed for many years is finally making its way into the medical journals – that the over use of antibiotics has resulted in bugs becoming resistant to them. In addition to developing resistance to antibiotics, bacteria can also camouflage themselves in what is knows as biofilm to ‘hide’ from antibiotics.
A research article published in MedscapeCME/CE Released: 05/19/2010 –
“Resistance to antibiotics prescribed in primary care may last up to 12 months, according to the results of a study reported Online First May 19 in the BMJ. An accompanying analysis and editorial point out the need to develop new antibiotics while conserving those that are currently available.
“In general practice, there are concerns that some common infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat and that illnesses due to antibiotic resistant bacteria may take longer to resolve,” write Céire Costelloe from the University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom”. “Individuals prescribed an antibiotic in primary care for a respiratory or urinary infection develop bacterial resistance to that antibiotic,” the study authors write. “The effect is greatest in the month immediately after treatment but may persist for up to 12 months. This effect not only increases the population carriage of organisms resistant to first line antibiotics, but also creates the conditions for increased use of second line antibiotics in the community.”
If colds and ‘flu are viral, then why are antibiotics commonly prescribed? Since the introduction of antibiotics, life expectancy has dramatically increased across the Western world; yet we are now facing a growing problem of antibiotic resistance, with the unnecessary prescription of anti-bacterial agents for respiratory illness receiving much of the blame. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for secondary respiratory infections where a bacterial infection has complicated an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection. However, only around 2% of viral respiratory infections will progress to bacterial infection.
It should be noted that there are situations when antibiotics are required, but there are many more instances when the natural approach will help the body to fight the infection successfully resulting in improved immune resistance. At the first sign of an infection or if people around you, whether at work, school or in the family, are getting sick, seek the advice of a natural health practitioner to help you build your resistance – naturally.
Antibacterial soaps just compounding the problem? Read more at Dr Mercola.
Last but not Least:
Naturopaths spend many years studying the intricacies of the human body, its biochemical functions, nutrition and herbal medicine and are, therefore, qualified and able to provide guidance in these matters. Always seek the advice of a qualified natural healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.
Contact True Medicine for professional, high grade supplements and herbal tonics – call 0468 774 633.
Before considering any vaccinations, please take time to read the following articles or watch well-researched scientific documentaries:
The Vaccine Illusion by Tetyana Obukhanych PhD
Critical Vaccine Studies: Miller’s Review of 400 important scientific papers by Neil Z. Miller
Vaccines and Immunisation
Before considering ANY vaccination, I recommend reading the following article which describes adverse side effects of Rotarix. Similar reports are available on many other vaccines. Unfortunately, the authorities are all too obliging in permitting new vaccines onto the market without adequate testing. Many side effects only become apparent after weeks, months, even years. Perhaps we really should consider strengthening our immune systems naturally to limit the number of vaccines we do receive.
The well-reasearched documentary “The Truth About Vaccines” presents findings from 60 top vaccine experts including doctors, scientists, paediatricians and immunologists.
The following two articles are available from the Vaccine Safety Commission:
1. YALE SCIENTISTS FIND STRONG ASSOCIATION BETWEEN VACCINATIONS AND ANOREXIA, OCD, AND ANXIETY DISORDER
Temporal Association of Certain Neuropsychiatric Disorders Following Vaccination of Children and Adolescents: A Pilot Case-Control StudyFrontiers in Psychiatry, January 2017, Douglas L. Leslie, Robert A. Kobre, Brian J. Richmand
Summary: “Subjects with newly diagnosed anorexia nervosa were more likely than controls to have had any vaccination in the previous 3 months [hazard ratio (HR) 1.80, 95% confidence interval 1.21-2.68]. Influenza vaccinations during the prior 3, 6, and 12 months were also associated with incident diagnoses of AN, OCD, and an anxiety disorder. Several other associations were also significant with HRs greater than 1.40 (hepatitis A with OCD and AN; hepatitis B with AN; and meningitis with AN and chronic tic disorder). This pilot epidemiologic analysis implies that the onset of some neuropsychiatric disorders may be temporally related to prior vaccinations in a subset of individuals.”
2. ITALIAN SCIENTISTS FIND UNEXPECTED CONTAMINANTS IN ALL PEDIATRIC VACCINES, INCLUDING LEAD, STAINLESS STEEL, TUNGSTEN, IRON, AND CHROMIUM
New Quality-Control Investigations on Vaccines: Micro- and Nanocontamination International Journal of Vaccines and Vaccination, January 2017, Dr. Antonietta M. Gatti, Stefano Montanari
Summary: Scientists found contaminants in all vaccines that are not listed on the label of the vaccines. “The analyses carried out show that in all samples checked vaccines contain non biocompatible and bio-persistent foreign bodies which are not declared by the Producers, against which the body reacts in any case. This new investigation represents a new quality control that can be adopted to assess the safety of a vaccine. Our hypothesis is that this contamination is unintentional, since it is probably due to polluted components or procedures of industrial processes (e.g. filtrations) used to produce vaccines, not investigated and not detected by the Producers. If our hypothesis is actually the case, a close inspection of the working places and the full knowledge of the whole procedure of vaccine preparation would probably allow to eliminate the problem.”
How can I protect my child?
Parents often ask my opinion on immunisation. This is a decision that parents must make for themselves after carefully evaluating the information available and without pressure from others: whether this be from medical practitioners, natural health practitioners or well-meaning family members. Each parent just wants what’s best for their child.
My advice is to source independent research, not statistics presented by pharmaceutical corporations. I also do not believe that it needs be a question or whether to vaccinate or not, but rather how to immunise safely.
The Japanese model of not vaccinating children under the age of two years has resulted in a 95% reduction in SIDS and other ‘unexplained’ conditions. This makes sense to me: delaying vaccination until a child’s immune system is stronger may be preferable to vaccinating a young child whose immune system has not developed yet. Many of the concerns relating to immunisation, including autism and ADD/ADHD, are based on the young infant’s blood-brain barrier not being formed and therefore allowing the heavy metals to enter the brain, causing damage.
Another option may be to request vaccines that do not contain harmful substances – mercury, aluminium, formaldehyde. These vaccines are available but are not promoted as they have much shorter shelf-lives. There are also ‘low allergy’ vaccines available.
I would also suggest considering vaccinating with one serum at a time rather than combination. Wait at least three months between injections and only continue the program if the child is in good health. Preparing your child for its vaccine is also beneficial – help to strengthen the immune system naturally both before and following vaccination to minimise any possible side-effects.
There is also the option of homeopathic prophylaxis – while very effective and safe, this does require a lot of commitment on the part of the parents as the program must be strictly followed for a period of two years. In this regard, I would suggest you discuss the treatment protocol with a reputable homeopath.
Visit http://www.homstudy.net/research/index.htm for more information.
A healthy respiratory system
To most 21st century dwellers, the terms smallpox, tuberculosis and typhoid recall thoughts of period novels, settler days and times gone by. While social and medical developments have all but eliminated these historic threats, they have been replaced by a new set of immune challenges. Asthma, sinusitis, influenza and corona-viruses are now household names.
In our modern world, virulent bacterial pathogens have been replaced by pollutants and chemicals, triggering hay fever, sinus, and asthma. Cramped unhygienic conditions have been replaced by a sanitised but highly-populated environment, leaving us widely exposed to viruses but without the immune experience to fight them.
These changes and their effects on immunity are incorporated into an increasingly popular theory known as the hygiene hypothesis. When we are born, the immune system knows little about fighting infection. It is only through exposure to microbes – vaginal birth, breastfeeding, playing in the dirt, sharing germs with other children and contracting infections that immune competence develops. With vaccinations, antibiotics and the use of modern sanitising soaps almost universal, our immune systems have lost much of their opportunity to develop effectively. Immune energy is instead directed at a range of what should be innocuous invaders in the body – foods we eat and plant pollens we breathe.
Imbalances in our immune system render us more prone to allergic reactions including asthma, eczema, hay-fever and sinusitis. Other pathogens contributing to immune over-reactivity include fungus and microbes.
So how can natural therapies help? Firstly, identifying the areas concerned is a major step in the right direction.
Choosing the right remedy may lead to faster relief. The choice of symptom relief for a cough, for example, varies depending on the type of cough. Typically, we find two key types of cough present – the dry and the productive. In the throes of a cold or ‘flu, cough is often chesty with excessive mucous and difficulty breathing due to congestion. In other situations, a different therapeutic approach is needed. Herbal remedies are excellent at treating the specific cough that is causing problems.
If you have any concerns about your immune system, whether it relates to a respiratory or other condition, arrange to discuss your situation with us by calling 0468 774 633 today.