Strengthen Your Immunity
From the introductory page, you will have learned that being disease resistant has a lot to do with being in balance. You may also wish to have a look at viral immunity for a general overview.
It is obvious that weak immunity, leading to frequent infections, is undesirable. Similarly, an excessive immune response can lead to difficulties. Think of people who have food allergies and are always on the alert for that particular food because, if they eat it, they may react; become swollen, itchy and red, have difficulty breathing, or, need medications to lower their responses to an allergen, i.e. hay fever.
Please read the following section carefully to find ways you can use to balance and strengthen your immunity.
Factors which Increase Immunity:
use spring or filtered water
use good quality fresh vegetables, cooked and raw, include some fruit
if possible, buy organic produce,
try beans and legumes instead of meat for some meals
cook whole grains and whole-grain pastas. Use whole-grain bread
use meats and dairy products in moderation
restrict simple sugars and alcohol
some people with digestive problems may benefit by eliminating wheat because it easily breaks down into simple sugars which can promote Candida overgrowth resulting in intestinal gas and bloating. Others may need to eliminate gluten completely
eat a good, balanced breakfast and eat less at supper
some people may do better if they eliminate dairy products
look for foods containing antioxidants. A supplement proven to have the most potent antioxidant effect and which improves the intracellular levels of glutathione ( the principal antioxidant) is MaxGXL.
2. Lifestyle Issues
try to eat your larger meal in the middle of the day. Eat lightly with less protein at supper. Large meals late in the day are hard on the liver and digestive organs. They tend to produce accelerated weight gain as well
cook on the stove and use the oven. The use of microwaves may be harmful and is thought to alter the shape of proteins rendering them more difficult to digest.
relax when you eat. Avoid disturbing distractions.
chew well. Aim for 30 chews/mouthful. The pro's aim for 100.
during the meal, restrict drinking in excess, even water. Try to let the saliva you generate with your chewing be the moisture you need. It's a powerful aid for digestion. Drink enough good quality water between meals
sleep is important. Try to get six to eight hours nightly.
Attitude. Happy contented people have fewer illnesses.
Exercise. Moderate daily exercise such as walking helps a great deal.
to Support Immunity
Take probiotics daily
Having adequate intestinal friendly bacteria gives a tremendous assist to innate immunity. Traditional cultures in which people live a long time have always eaten foods that contain probiotics.
For example, probiotics are found in Europe in yogurt and sauerkraut, in miso and pickles in Japan, and in Indonesia, in tempeh. Most of the commercial food we consume contains no live beneficial bacteria. Even yogurt, unless it is specifically created with human probiotics is of little use. Some of the dairy products which are currently being promoted as beneficial because they contain probiotics, do not have strains which are of much use for enhancing immunity.
Supplementing your diet with high-quality acidophilus, bifidus and other probiotic bacteria has been shown to increase immunity, not only in the intestine, but through the whole body. Recent studies have shown a benefit in treating irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Women who take acidophilus daily have been shown to have fewer bladder infections.
Please buy your probiotics from a store where they are kept cold or order them from a reputable company where they are kept fresh and shipped quickly. Keep your probiotics in the fridge. The bacteria die rapidly when warm. There is a vast difference in the effectiveness of probiotics from different companies. Some just don't work because they are not effective in colonizing the intestine, thus failing to confer protection. Some just have virtually no live bacteria present and thus don't work. The probiotics I have found most effective in my practice are ones which are microblended with blue green algae and shipped rapidly from the source.(For more information)
In general, I recommend taking 1-3 acidophilus with breakfast and 1-3 bifidus with supper. You may wish to do this every day or intermittently take a break. Always return to this schedule if you are traveling or have had a period of increased stress, a episode of increased dietary indulgence or an illness.
Always take extra probiotics during and after using an antibiotic. Recent studies have demonstrated an increase in childhood asthma which correlates with antibiotic use. More antibiotics = more asthma. I believe that, for everyone, probiotics, taken during the course of antibiotics and for at least one month after, would dramatically decrease this increase in asthma and other illness. Please see the section on probiotics for more detailed information.
2.Take a diet rich in micro nutrients
Every cell in our body requires a wide range of nutrients. For health, we require both a balance of macro nutrients (protein, fats and carbs) as well as a smattering of micro nutrient minerals ( boron, silica, manganese, zinc etc.).
Vitamins are another type of micro nutrient. In addition to the usual vitamins, plants contain substances now being increasingly recognized as important for health. Leukopenes, flavinoids, plant polysaccharides are examples of this and are found in foods, bound together with other nutrients which make them easy for the body to absorb.
However, with modern "chemical" farming practices, the micro nutrients in the average diet are deficient. In addition, many of the "nutritional supplements" which are currently offered for sale have been produced in a chemical laboratory. Our body seems to perceives these supplements as chemicals and in many cases cannot use them or, their utility is hampered by only partial effectiveness.
- By contrast, foods, especially those organically farmed, contain a much wider range of micro nutrients. One of the foods richest in mineral micro nutrients is a family of foods known collectively as blue-green algae.This family of edible algae comes from three different sources. Spirulina is a spiral shaped blue-green algae grown in farmed ponds, principally in Japan and Hawaii. Chlorella is another farmed algae which is mostly grown in Hawaii. It has a tough outer shell which needs to be mechanically ruptured prior to eating.
- Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, is an algae growing wild in a lake in pure, contaminant-free, volcanic, sediment-rich water, high in the mountains of Oregon. The photo below is of AFA
All edible algae are fine sources of mineral micro nutrients There are however differences which make Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) my choice.
AFA is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, mineral micro nutrients and chlorophyll. AFA also contains a blue pigment, phycocyanin, which has been demonstrated to have a number of health benefits including being, what investigators think, may be an anticancer agent. This blue pigment may also promote stem cell growth and migration, to sites in the body where immune defenses or regeneration is required.
My family and I have been eating this algae since 1985. I have visited the lake from which it is harvested a number of times and have closely inspected the immaculate production facilities of one company. The production there is also certified according to"Good Manufacturing Processes", is Certified Organic, and Kosher.
A scientific team (Saker, 2005) published a study in Toxicon, a first class journal devoted to toxicology issues and found that, all of the samples of AFA containing products obtained from Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon in 2005 were safe, and that it"....demonstrated the vigilance of the health food companies for controlling the concentrations (of a previously misreported toxin) within their products".
I strongly recommend using this food supplement. (*More information on AFA)
Another approach to obtaining the required micro nutrients is by taking a product which uses nanotechnology to present minerals and vitamins in a gel form. If you should decide to purchase this product, I will receive a commission. Please click here for more information.
What follows may be the most important discovery in decades for improving our immunity.
3. Include a beta-glucan supplement on a daily basis.
Beta-glucan is a simple, highly purified, complex carbohydrate. It provides a safe and extremely effective boost for immunity.
Traditional healers in the East have known about beta-glucans for a long time. Beta-glucans are complex carbohydrates. They are found in the cell wall of many of the mushrooms (reishi, shitaki) traditionally used as immune boosting supplements. Beta-glucans are also found in yeast and grains like wheat and oats where they create the structural element that reinforces the cell wall. When cooked, beta-glucans produce the thickening in sauces and gravy.
Beta-glucans are build of simple sugar molecules much the same way as is cellulose. They behave more like starch or cellulose however, and do not contribute in any way to problems with sugar intake. Those with diabetes need have no concern.
In the 90’s, a patented process was developed so that beta-glucan could more successfully be delivered intact to the small intestine. Previously, beta-glucan, because it is like a starch, was subject to digestion, making the immune benefits of eating mushrooms or products containing beta-glucans, less significant.
WGP™ beta-glucan, the new patented product is derived from the highly purified cell wall of baker's yeast. It has been of extraordinary benefit to many of my patients. When they take it daily they have experienced a reduction in the number of viral illnesses, an improvement in energy and well-being and a reduction in Candida problems. When taken at the beginning of a viral illness, it has helped my patients, with both bacterial and viral illnesses recover more rapidly than would have been expected. It can, safely and effectively, be used at the same time as an antibiotic.
It is currently being researched as an adjunct in cancer therapy. During the anthrax scare, the Canadian military tested WGP™ beta-glucan and found it extremely effective in preventing anthrax infections.
How Does WGP™ beta-glucan Work?
The islands of lymph tissue in the small intestine are programmed to look out for yeast and to defend against it. WGP™ beta-glucan fools the immune system into thinking that immunity is in jeopardy thus, waking it up. It`s rather like having thunder without the harmful effects of lightning.
When yeast is present in the intestine, the macrophages in the lymph islands become activated to defend against an invasion. In a usual type of yeast invasion, which could be potentially harmful, whole yeast cells containing protein, chitin and carbohydrate, are identified by specialized lymph tissue in the small intestine. These special receptors pass the information to local macrophages which become activated. This greatly enhances immune surveillance.
WGP™ beta-glucan gives the immune system in the intestine the signal that a yeast invader is coming. WGP™ beta-glucan does this because it contains a highly purified carbohydrate molecule whose physical shape the receptors identify as yeast (and thus a likely pathogen). These receptors take in the WGP™ beta-glucan which is transported to local macrophages. They in turn activate other local macrophages and neutrophils. The local immune surveillance is thus 'ramped up'.
Part of this activity has the benefit of making the white blood cells more able to travel to areas of trouble and rapidly deal with infection. Another benefit is that the 'turned on neutrophils' travel quickly through the body, reaching distant lymph tissues in a matter of minutes and waking them up too.
The body does not tire of this 'wake up'. Clinical experience has demonstrated that people can use WGP™ beta-glucan every day for years without the benefit diminishing. My family and I take one daily WGP™ beta-glucan daily. I strongly recommend this approach to everyone, except those people who are highly allergic to yeast. For information on how to obtain this product, click here.
Beta-glucan and Swine Flu
Korean researchers have demonstrated a direct anti-viral effect of beta-glucan against the influenza virus. Scientists exposed two groups of newborn pigs to the swine flu virus....one group of piglets received beta-glucan for three days before being infected with swine flu, while the other group received only a placebo for three days before infection with live virus. Objective
evidence of swine flu infection in the lungs of piglets that had been infected, but not given beta-glucan, was significantly more severe than in the infected animals that had been pretreated with beta-glucan.
Furthermore, pigs that had been pretreated with beta glucan had significantly higher concentration of natural disease-fighting substances, including interferon-gamma, in fluid obtained from the lungs within a week of infection. The researchers concluded that beta-glucan reduced signs of lung disease and the viral replication rate in the test subjects. These findings support the potential application of beta-glucan to prevent or treat influenza virus infection. (pg. 45)
Reference: Life Extension. Winter 2006-2007. Pg's. 45-46
Vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin
Now even scientists know what everyone knew forever - that sunshine (and vitamin D made by the sun on your skin) helps create health and immunity. And to help promote immunity, taking extra VItamin D boosts it. In the winter in Northern latitudes, it's a lot harder to get. So it makes sense to take some extra.
How much Vitamin D is right?
When you're well, probably four to six times the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D3 is about right. For an adult, that could mean 2000 to 4000 IU daily. For children, the same rule applies.
If you're fighting a virus, try more - perhaps up to 8000 unity daily for a few days.
What's a good way to get Vitamin D?
The best supplement is Vitamin D3. In order to be biologically active, Vitamin D goes through several activations steps in the body. D3 shortens this process and makes it easier to absorb and use Vitamin D. D3 is available in drop form (Baby D drops®) and as adult D Drops® in pharmacies. Carlson Labs make a good Vitamin D with 2000 IU Vitamin D3 per gel cap.
Could you be taking too much Vitamin D or too little?
The only way to know for sure is to get blood levels done. Aim for 200 ng/ml. As far as we know, Vitamin D is not toxic even at higher levels.
Because this level may be seen as 'toxic' by your physician, they may be reassured by checking further when they will find what many physicians now believe - that the 'normal' levels are too low and that this level (200 ng/ml) will be of benefit in supporting immune function and bone health.
All the earlier studies of people taking large amounts of Vitamin D which demonstrated a build-up of calcium resulting in kidney stones, were with people who were consuming large amounts of calcium. If you are eating a healthy diet and not taking any additional calcium, or if you are taking a little - perhaps about 500 mg/day then you should be fine. If you have a history of kidney stones it would be wise to consult a professional before adding extra Vitamin D to your regime.
If you would like more information about viral immunity, please click.
These types of treatment can be a great help in strengthening and balancing you - if done by someone who is well trained. This often means an Oriental medical doctor, trained in China, or someone who has similar training.