Why is my immunity low?

If you have an increased number of colds, are frequently ill and often need an antibiotic or an anti-viral medication, you have a problem with your immunity. There may be an obvious cause like a recent accident, surgery, taking chemotherapy, or perhaps dealing with a chronic debilitating illness. In any case, please read through the following list to find out if there are any things you are now doing to make the situation worse.

Factors Which Compromise Immunity

1.Decreased Intestinal Probiotic Support:

Decreased probiotic support leaves the intestine with weakened defenses. The following factors may contribute to this weakening.

a) Concentrated chlorine kills all bacteria. Chlorine in drinking water has been shown to have a killing effect and decreases beneficial bacteria in the intestine. These friendly bacteria are helpful because they provide a physical barrier against infection and have immune stimulating properties.

b) Antibiotics: Studies have shown that a course of antibiotics leaves the intestine virtually bare of beneficial bacteria. Antibiotics are also found in some samples of cows milk, beef, pork, poultry and farmed fish. Frequent antibiotic use promotes the growth of bacteria of greater virulence which are resistant to antibiotics. Further, some patients treated with antibiotics may develop a potentially life-threatening diarrhoea related to the growth of an organism, Clostridium dificile.

Using antibiotics frequently likely means immunity is compromised but this can be helped greatly by taking probiotics during and after an antibiotic.

c) Excess simple sugars and alcohol in the diet encourage yeast, (Candida) growth. Candida albicans produces chemical factors which are antibacterial. This reduces friendly bacteria, resulting in diminished immunity. Symptoms of intestinal Candidiasis include gas, bloating, cramping, alternating diarrhoea and constipation, and excess fatigue. Candida overgrowth frequently follows antibiotic use. It is also frequently found in diabetics, women on the "pill," those using prednisone, and immune suppressed patients.

2.Thinning of the Intestinal Mucus Layer

It is significant to know that if the intestinal mucus layer is thinned, you will have an increased risk of acquiring infections. Thinning may take place from the following causes:

a) NSAIDs (acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen)- medications commonly used to reduce fever, inflammation and pain, have a dramatic effect. They turn off or markedly reduce the ability of the mucus cells in the intestine to produce effective mucus. With a thinner mucus layer, the intestine is vulnerable to damage. Gastric and duodenal ulcers are a frequent result. Thinned intestinal mucus cannot support an effective probiotic layer. Immunity is reduced.

b) Illness, for example, gastroenteritis or food poisoning may decrease the mucus layer.

c) Alcohol and coffee may play a part for some people.

Other Factors Which Affect Immunity

1. Emotional Issues

Any emotional upset has been demonstrated to have a negative impact on immunity. This includes when people have a negative emotion about us. Anger and guilt are particularly harmful. Conversely, happy, joyful people get ill less frequently.

2. Exercise

Little exercise creates problems. Without it, we tend to build up toxic metabolites and colonic fecal material . We need to discharge these toxins. Exercise also lifts the spirits and has been shown to be as good as an antidepressant for some people.

3. Nutrition

Poor nutrition can have a marked effect, diminishing our immunity. Affected children in starvation areas like the Sudan can have severe problems. It is however less understood that many in the "first world" with food readily available and who look well nourished or possibly even obese, have nutritional deficiencies. These deficits are often in vitamins, certain minerals required in very small amounts (micro nutrients), like zinc, boron or manganese.

Vitamins, produced by most commercial organizations, may have many of these micro nutrients on the label. While taking these vitamins may help, some researchers believe that the nutrients taken in pill form are less absorbed, and thus less effective, than if they were eaten in food. Why is this?

Many of us want to make things simple. We think of oranges = vitamin C or blueberries = antioxidants. But our bodies are complex. Food is complex. Minerals in food are combined with organic acids and proteins. They combine in our digestive system to allow the key ingredients to be assimilated.

Occasionally food tricks us. Spinach is rich in iron but the oxalates in it make it difficult to assimilate. But (AFA) is a food rich in minerals, which are easy to assimilate, omega-3 essential fatty acids, phytonutrients, proteins, vitamins including vegetarian B12. Even a small amount of this food can make a difference to malnourished people.

This was tested in a group of malnourished Guatemalan children given small amounts of AFA daily. After six months, their school illness absences and their test scores had increased significantly.

Often nutritional choices are driven by poverty. But increasingly, young people, influenced by advertising or peer pressure, make choices which are very bad. The result is frequent illness and behavioral problems.


If you have intestinal issues please make sure you get stool checked for parasites.

Environmental Issues

Many elements from our surroundings impact us, often without us being aware of them. Some of these are:

  • electromagnetic smog - invisible but can be debilitating or deadly
  • air pollution
  • chemical pollution
  • molds in the air we breathe - could be in a damp basement or in an air duct. If you ever see black mold gowning on a wall or wood where you live, it is a very great danger and needs to be removed
  • out gassing (usually only newer) furniture, paint, and rugs

There are many more issues today, because of all the modern chemicals in use. You may need to see a physical specializing in environmental medicine for help with these issues.